With Jordon Ibe expected to sign a new deal imminently, it’s clear young attacker is seen as part in Liverpool’s plans for the future. The 19-year-old attacker, though, isn’t taking his place at the club for granted, and he's already looking forward to pre-season as a chance to impress Brendan Rodgers and ensure his a place in the squad next season.
"It’s really important to get in the gaffer’s mind for who could be in the starting 11 for the first Premier League game and just do well to keep your fitness up," Ibe said this week. "I’m looking forward to it a lot. We went to Asia two years ago and it will be good to see the amazing fans. In America and Asia I’ve seen so many fans, [and] I’ve experienced a lot being on tour with the first team."
Ibe being cup tied meant he was unavailable against Aston Villa, but the expectation will be for him to walk back into the lineup against West Brom—at least if the manager sticks to three at the back, a formation in which Ibe appears to have become surprise first choice at right wingback. Many see him settling at striker down the road, but for now at least the space afforded to him out wide suits.
No matter what formation Liverpool play, though, Ibe is likely to have a major role. With Liverpool’s season essentially over, the goal for Rodgers must now be to set up the team with an eye to the future. As that future is likely to feature Ibe prominently, the next few weeks should see him given whichever role it is Rodgers and the coaching staff imagine he will be playing for on the pre-season tour.
"We couldn’t even get on the bus to drive to the hotel," added Ibe, reflecting on the last time he and Liverpool travelled to Asia. "I’m imagining it will be crazy again. It’s very important because we don’t really go to that side of the world a lot. It’s great for us—and great for them to watch us play."