In spite of the efforts being made by the Nigeria Football Federation to woo Liverpool striker Jordan Ibe and other up and coming Nigerian players bred in Europe, England may yet beat the country to the Liverpool player as there are clear works to hold firmly to the Nigerian.
England manager Roy Hodgson is reportedly mulling over an England call-up for Ibe following interest from Nigeria.
According to The Mirror, Hodgson could fast-track Ibe to the senior England squad following the increased interest from Nigeria concerning the lad.
The report states, ‘’Ibe is unlikely to be included in the England squad for the home Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania next month and a friendly away to Italy four days later. However, he could be included in the party for the friendly trip to face the Republic of Ireland in June, which is followed a week later by a qualifier against Slovenia.’’
The 19-year-old has been in fine form since returning to Liverpool from Derby County in January and has proved critics wrong that suggested he was brought back merely for a squad place at Anfield.
Days before the Aston Villa away game in mid-January, Brendan Rodgers made the unorthodox call to bring the youngster back from the East Midlands and put him straight into his squad.
After two Premier League cameo appearances, plus a Man-of-the-Match display in the Europa League against Besiktas, the talented youngster was named in the starting line-up against Everton in the Merseyside derby. Although Rodgers’ side failed to score and get all three points, the attacker had a big impact on the manager and supporters after smashing the ball into the post from 30 yards within the first half-an-hour of the game.
Former Premier League stars Thierry Henry and Jamie Carragher made strong complimentary comments about the striker afterwards.
Since then, he has kept his place in the Liverpool side and helped them to two vital wins, first against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield and then away at Southampton last weekend.
Ibe has played for England at the junior levels. He is expected to be part of the England U21 side after failing to make the squad so far in his career. The team managed by Gareth Southgate will travel to the Czech Republic in June for the 2015 UEFA European U21 Championship.
Nigeria will lose the race for the player who has a Nigerian father if Hodgson gets him to play in the senior squad. The NFF boss Amaju Pinnick visited Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi last week.