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Jordon Ibe – Nigerian-Born English Player

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Jordon Ashley Femi Ibe, who was born on 8 December, 1995, is an English professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Premier League club AFC Bournemouth.

After coming up through the youth system of Wycombe Wanderers, for whom he made his debut in the Football League as a 15-year-old, Ibe joined Liverpool in 2012. He spent time on loan at Championship clubs Birmingham City in the 2013–14 season and Derby County in 2014–15. In 2016, he signed for Bournemouth for a then club record £15 million fee. He has represented England from under-18 to under-21 level.

Ibe was born in Bermondsey, in the London Borough of Southwark, and attended Charles Dickens Primary School, Southwark and Sacred Heart Catholic School, Camberwell. He signed for the Wycombe Wanderers youth team in 2007 at the age of 12, following his release from the Charlton Athletic youth team.

Ibe came up through the youth system at Wycombe, and made his first-team debut on 9 August 2011 in the League Cup victory against Colchester United at Adams Park, coming on as an extra-time substitute aged 15 years and 244 days. On 15 October, at the age of 15 years and 311 days, he came on in the 90th minute of the victory against Hartlepool United and became Wycombe’s youngest-ever Football League player.

He made his first senior start against Sheffield Wednesday 14 days later and scored in the 2–1 loss, becoming the youngest Wycombe goalscorer in the Football League. In all, Ibe made 11 appearances and scored once for Wanderers.

On 20 December 2011, Premier League club Liverpool signed the 16-year-old Ibe for an undisclosed fee. He initially joined up with the club’s under-18 squad.

Ibe was called up to the bench for the Premier League game at Southampton on 16 March 2013; he remained unused. Two months later, Ibe made his Premier League debut in the final game of the season, starting the match and assisting Philippe Coutinho for the only goal of the match against Queens Park Rangers. He was substituted in the 63rd minute by Fabio Borini after putting on a positive display.

For the 2013–14 season, Ibe was allocated the number 33 shirt vacated by Jonjo Shelvey. He made his first start of the season on 27 August, playing 120 minutes as Liverpool beat Notts County 4–2 after extra time in the League Cup second round. On 8 February 2014, he made his second Premier League appearance, as a 76th-minute substitute in a 5–1 home win over Arsenal.

On 21 February 2014, he was loaned to Championship club Birmingham City until the end of the season. He made 11 appearances, scored the opening goal from 20 yards (18 m) in a 3–2 win at Millwall, and was involved in Paul Caddis’s stoppage-time goal on the last day of the season that caused a 2–2 draw at Bolton Wanderers and saved Birmingham from relegation to League One.

On 29 August 2014, Ibe joined Derby County on a season-long loan. After scoring 5 goals in 24 appearances for Derby, he was recalled by Liverpool on 15 January 2015. On 7 February, he made his first Premier League start of the season in a goalless Merseyside Derby against Everton, in which he struck a shot which hit the inside of the post, and was named man of the match.

Three days later, he started in Liverpool’s 3–2 league victory over Tottenham Hotspur and was involved in the build-up to their third and game-winning goal. Ibe won a late penalty, converted by Mario Balotelli to secure a 1–0 victory over Beşiktaş in the Europa League at Anfield. On 13 April, he made his comeback from an injury in a 2–0 win over Newcastle United and played for about an hour. On 21 May 2015, Ibe signed a long-term contract with Liverpool, reported to be a five-year deal.

On 5 November 2015, Ibe scored his first Liverpool goal, in a 1–0 away win over Rubin Kazan in the Europa League group stage. After replacing the injured Philippe Coutinho in the 18th minute, he scored the only goal in the 37th, as Liverpool defeated Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final on 5 January 2016. Ibe scored his first Premier League goal on the final day of the season in a 1–1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.

On 14 July 2016, Ibe joined AFC Bournemouth on a four-year contract for a club record £15 million fee. A buy-back and sell-on clause was reported to have been included in the agreement. In the first three months of his first season, Ibe was a regular in the starting eleven, but according to manager Eddie Howe he lacked consistency and was dropped to the bench.

He returned to the starting lineup as one of 11 changes in the team for an FA Cup tie with Millwall; they lost 3–0. Howe said afterwards that Ibe “hasn’t been a regular in the team and that will be a disappointment for him and for us. I still feel there’s a lot of potential in there, but obviously he’s got to fulfil that when he gets chances like today.” He finished the season with 26 appearances, including 13 league starts, and failed to score. Ibe scored his first goal for Bournemouth on 14 January 2018 in a 2–1 victory against Arsenal.

On 24 October 2012, Ibe made his national team debut at under-18 level, playing 69 minutes in a 2–0 win against Italy. On 5 September 2013, he made his England under-19 debut in a 6–1 win against Estonia. Ibe scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 win against Montenegro U19 during elite qualification for the 2014 European championships. At the beginning of the 2014–15 season, Ibe made his first appearance for the England under-20 side, playing 90 minutes in a 6–0 win against Romania.

In August 2015, he received his first call-up to the under-21 squad. Ibe is eligible for Nigeria through his father. The Nigeria Football Federation confirmed in February 2015 that they were monitoring Ibe and would attempt to get him to switch his international allegiance. In August, Nigeria manager Sunday Oliseh made a personal appeal to Ibe in an attempt to convince him to switch allegiance, but a few weeks later, he confirmed that his international future lay with England.

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has described Ibe as “a really talented player with a bright footballing brain” who has the versatility to play as a winger on either flank, as a playmaker or as a striker.

Steve McClaren, who managed Ibe during his loan at Derby County, saw Ibe as an exciting player “like the old jinky wingers we used to get in the game”. Andy Hunter of The Guardian described Ibe as an “individual of impressive pace, power and control”, who produces threatening performances and stands out because of his good temperament, intelligence, creativity and directness.

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