AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has been full of praise for winger Jordon Ibe and is excited by the glimpses of potential he has shown in a Cherries shirt so far, despite the new signing coming in for criticism from some quarters.
The 21-year-old arrived from Liverpool in the summer for a club record £15million, but has struggled to make a real impact in the first team so far.
Ibe back in against Manchester City
Despite this, Howe said that the English midfielder has been working really hard in training and has seen a noticeable improvement in his recent performances against Watford, Crystal Palace and Everton.
As a result Ibe was recalled to the starting lineup for Monday night’s match against Manchester City and had a good chance one on one with Willy Caballero early on in the match. A heavy touch when attempting to round the keeper spurned the opportunity as the Blues then went on to secure a 2-0 victory.
Speaking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo, the Cherries manager said that he is playing in a different environment here compared to when at Liverpool and that he needs more time to deal with the pressures of the price tag.
The winger has been subject to criticism on social media following the match for not living up to the expectations of his price tag this season. However, Howe, renowned for his great man management skills, has been quick to defend the winger.
Howe defends record buy
“(For Ibe) to produce his very best form immediately would have been difficult”, said Howe, but the Cherries' boss is very excited about the future for Ibe.
So far the 21-year-old has made 18 Premier League appearances, but has never completed the full 90 minutes. Ibe is also yet to score or produce an assist for the side, with just one shot on target registered to his name.
While these statistics make for poor reading, the winger has been dynamic and produced moments to get the fans excited during games, he just has not been able to find the final product. Howe strongly feels that this will come with time, “I think he’s an outstanding player technically and has all the athletic attributes we want in our wide players.”
There is plenty of competition for places in the wide positions, with the exciting prospect Ryan Fraser becoming a regular starter and with Marc Pugh, Junior Stanislas and Max Gradel all fighting for a place, Ibe has got to keep up the hard work to cement his place in Howe’s side.