Nigeria have made a bid to snatch rising Liverpool star Jordon Ibe from England’s clutches. The 19-year-old looks certain to be given a Reds starting berth at the weekend ahead of £45million pair Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, as manager Brendan Rodgers offers the chance to cement a first team spot this season. That will open the prospect of an England Under-21 call for winger Ibe, who has already represented the national side at U18, U19 and U20 level. But Ibe is eligible to play for Nigeria through his father, David, and representatives from Nigeria were at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground on Wednesday to sound out the player over a switch of allegiances. That could persuade England boss Roy Hodgson to accelerate his progress into the full England squad — especially after Rodgers offered a glowing reference about the youngster’s progress.
Ibe has been a star of Liverpool’s pre-season and that has put him at the forefront of his club manager’s plans, with Rodgers explaining the winger will be given the chance to shine this season. Liverpool visit Stoke on Sunday, immediately returning to the scene of their 6-1 humiliation on the final day of last season. But new boy Nathaniel Clyne is looking beyond that chance for revenge towards a title challenge. The former Southampton defender, one of eight new signings this summer, said: “With the squad we have, I would like to think that we’ll look to win every competition that we’re in. “Our aim has to be a title challenge and trying to make the final of one of the cup competitions, while doing as well as we can in the Europa League.”