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23 Feb 2015

'Respect': Henry hails 'amazing' LFC star and explains the reason why he's playing so well

Liverpool starlet Jordon Ibe is winning rave reviews for his performances at the moment, and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is the latest to jump on the bandwagon and shower the youngster with effusive praise.

Reacting to his performance against Southampton, Henry hailed Ibe's 'amazing performance', and praised his 'maturity to understand the game'. He explained:

“It wasn’t the step overs and nutmegs [it's] The way he was tucking in to show he can cover his back three and the midfielders.

"He never gave up, he worked hard for his team-mates and that’s how you gain the respect of team-mates. That is why he is playing for Liverpool.”

As usual, the minute any young English player displays the slightest talent, he's lionised and deified beyond all recognition, and that process is already in full-swing with Ibe. Gerrard recently described Ibe as 'sensational'; Rodgers labelled him 'brilliant' and 'outstanding, and now he's amazing; what next? 'god-like' and 'world-class'?

Liverpool are reportedly planning to offer Ibe a new long-term deal, and the club probably thought it would be a simple, straightforward process, but I have no doubt the player's agent will be using all the praise as leverage in any ongoing contract negotiations.

Next, it'll be premature calls for Roy Hodgson to include Ibe in the England squad, and a year from now, he'll probably be holding the club to ransom for a massive new deal, just like Raheem Sterling.

Without wishing to be churlish, covering the back three and working 'hard' is Ibe's job as a wing-back, and I fail to see why he deserves such overwrought praise for basically doing the job for which he's handsomely rewarded.

If Sterling ends up quitting Anfield for the riches of La Liga, Ibe appears to be the perfect replacement, but if the likes of Henry, Rodgers, Carragher, and Gerrard don't tone down the ego massage, he'll end up being Sterling MK 2 in more ways than one.

I'll probably be criticised for refusing to drink the Ibe Kool-aid, but a year ago, I argued that excessive praise for Sterling could be counter-productive, and look what's happening now. The 20-year old is so drunk on his own hype that he's reportedly refusing to sign a new deal unless the club offers him an obscene £130k per week.

It's great to see attacking players coming into the team and making an impact, but if Liverpool aren't careful, history will repeat itself with Ibe, and any other young player who makes it through the academy.

Liverpool can't control what the likes of Henry et al say in public, but in my view, there should be an internal club policy that specifically prohibits exaggerated praise of teenagers/young players, and that should also extend to ex-LFC players.

Sorry, but I just don't want to be part of the problem when it comes to giving promising young players a grossly inflated view of their own worth.



  1. Sterling wants what some players sitting on that LFC bench are getting (glen/balo). If I was making a impact in every game I would ask for the same and more. Rooney is getting 300K to make the most amount of backwards passes in the prem. Jamie if you didn't ask for the same in his position you'd be selling yourself short

  2. Wow, that's a bit harsh and a bit pessimistic. What gives you the impression he is going to 'hold the club to ransom'. He seems like a pretty mild mannered down to earth guy from what I've seen.
    I don't think there is anything wrong with praising someone's performance at all. If they had a good game, they should be told.
    I'm sure Rodgers is still telling him things to work on behind the scenes. I doubt he has said to him "That's it mate, you've made it. You don't need to do anything else now."

  3. Lionised yes. Deified? People love seeing a young lad run riot. That's fine it doesn't mean he is being worshipped. Also I am sure Ibe has already signed a new deal.

  4. Have you ever thought :

    Maybe some people thrive on praise?

    Some people like being praised and use that to elevate their selves even higher and aim to be as good as Messi and Ronaldo.

    And those same players could maybe if not be praised lose confidence.

    Some players need an arm around their shoulder while other need to be kept grounded . Rodgers knows the person personally and with Steve Peters knows their mindset , So he knows what to say and what not to.


  5. Excellent description of the fact with young English players and the exaggeration with the media. Let us be careful!!!!!!!

  6. Plus there is nothing wrong with what Sterling is doing.
    If Rodgers has added to hype then simply Sterling will leave for big money . Basically increasing his amrket value..
    ANd we can restructure whole squad like with Suarez money .

    If Sterling leaves we get big money .All players are welcome to leave if there heart is not at Liverpool.

    Look at Suarez and Torres both toiling being labeled flops since tehy left .

  7. Sorry every human being is different

    every dog is the same.

  8. After Owen, i cant remember any star produced from our Academy ! Once in a while it only happened so let us EGO a while for this production hehehe

  9. Well, no surprise from me, I don't see a problem. Ibe deserves the praise. He's come from an eye catching spell in the Championship and cemented himself a spot in a team that is currently top of the form table. He's forced Rodgers to leave more established players on the bench while we were initially thinking he'd just get a handful of sub appearances. It's a very impressive "arrival" for the young man. As a Liverpool fan I'm going to enjoy that, celebrate his good form and speak highly of him. I'm going to be excited by what I'm seeing and be hopeful that Ibe continues to improve and one day because a true star for his club.

  10. It is of course all merely press speculation. But just in case I have dismantled my shrine to Raheem and replaced it with a statue of Ibe.

  11. I don't have a problem with Henry saying what he did. He just acknowledged the fact that Ibe performed well, keeping in mind he has very limited experience and was once again one of the better players of the game on what was a below par performance from the team albeit the result.

    Now, the whole "amazing", "brilliant", "outstanding" and "fantastic" praises I don't like. And BR loves to use those words, but it's those words that came back to bite him, the same has happened with Glen Johnson, Gerrard, Suarez, Sterling etc... they all have a measure of control because of this.

    If BR kept it real with SG performance then it would be a lot easier to drop him. But I digress.

    I've been impressed with Ibe, playing as a wing back will teach him how to defend and press and it's good. But his future, along with Marko, are as attackers and not defensive minded players.

    A front 3 of Ibe, Sturridge and Sterling can work.

    I also like the fact that Sturridge was on the bench, people forget this guy is extremely injury prone! BR has to manage him well.

    Funny thing is, had we lost BR would have been crucified for leaving DS on the bench, now that we won I see loads of people on forums calling him a tactical genious...the term "going with the wind" comes to mind here.

  12. Ibe shouldn't be praised at all.
    In fact, I think questions should be asked already about his temperament and true willingness to play for LFC.
    The guy doesn't even make himself available for cup games, swans around on free days as if he's cup tied - a clear sign of attitude problems.
    Sell him to Derby for 5 mill. Excellent business.

  13. No no no.
    All players should be told on an hourly basis that they are merely hamsters turning the big wheel of the club they serve. Make them feel small, worthless so that they'll never have the confidence to even look at moving to another club and will be grateful for whatever contract they are offered.
    Everyone is the same. Treat everyone exactly the same way.
    Give Balotelli a new improved contract in line with Sterling.
    Make Gerrard our new keeper AND media spokesman.
    Shout at everyone.

  14. negative nelly over here, pundits and fans are just giving their opinion about him. internal club policies on praise? hahahahaha that is farcical. people are just commenting on how he is playing, is it rash to say he is going to be a top talent if all other factors are equal? he was playing in the championship a couple months ago, now putting in top quality performances for our team. loosen up man, get around some of our players who are playing well. we're all in it together.

  15. Well done to Lovren. Was decent against his old club and may just allow BR to put Can in his rightful position once Sakho the Beast is back.
    Sakho for president.

  16. It is his job as wing back, but he ain't wing back, remember?
    And coming to EPL and taking it by storm with at least two MoM deserves some praise, English or not.

  17. If Chelsea had done what LFC did at South' it would have been a Mourinho master class in get a goal ahead, defend and if you get another great.

  18. Of course. We'd never get 5 mill.
    Sell for 3.5.

  19. turn your PC off Merts, you're drunk

  20. sorry I don't trust the "greys" ;-)

  21. Greyist. :)
    Gotta have a laugh on a Monday.

  22. It could catch on that - Monday Mirth

  23. Wish someone would tell my girlfriend.
    Me trying to sleep with her mates is just my way of making us all close.

  24. you could have been Ngctc.
    I'm kinda traumatised because of him

  25. Now you've gone too far mate.
    I use apostrophes and everything!

  26. Sorry, which Steven Gerrard void would that be?

  27. That's when you need a hero I might go as far as to say its high time for a hero

  28. "the return of a sheikhish hero"

  29. As you don't mind her having blokes as mates you'd think she'd be more understanding

  30. Wow Jaimie. Henry basically praised how hard he worked and how willing he was to do the defensive side of the game. Effusive praise? Really? He's a pundit, it's his job to analyse players and say what they did right and wrong.
    Also as I said the last time you claimed Sterling was demanding 130k a week, where have you got this info from because I've not read or heard anything of the sort

  31. Totally agree. Also if what Ibe has done recently isn't worthy of praise then what is?

  32. We all know you're a belieber stu

  33. I think he made a cheeky appearance the other day under the pseudonym 'I'

  34. In fairness according to Chris Bascombe Sterling's reps are asking for more than one twenty a week but according to the same guy he thinks that that is more the terrible advice he is getting from his agent rather than Sterling himself. He this Sterling would probably have signed ages ago if it were not for his bad advice. So to claim it's about Sterling is still a push.

  35. I think he'll eventually sign for about 100k a week

  36. People said the same about Sterling, and when I suggested a year ago that he'll end up holding the club to ransom, people reacted the same way as you are now. And what's happened?

    The fact that a player appears to be 'mild mannered' means nothing.

  37. Apparently Rodgers grossly over-praises everyone, so if Sterling's demands stem from this, then why hasn't Coutinho came demanding a mad contract? Why not Flanagan last season? Coutinho in particular is showered with praise at every opportunity but his extension was announced with no prelude, after no public fencing and appeared to be a simple transaction. If he's subject to the same 'excessive over-praise' as Sterling, why hasn't he engaged in similar brinksmanship?

    Could it be that he's a different person, with different representation? Just like Ibe.

  38. Simple: Coutinho isn't English, and isn't subject to the ridiculous hype created by the English press whenever a homegrown player displays the slightest talent.

    Whether it's Rooney, Sterling, Ashley Cole, or whoever, English players have a history of having an inflated sense of their own worth.

    As for Flanagan - it's generally attacking players who push for the big contracts; the media doesn't really lionise defensive players to the same extend, and they're consequently in a weaker bargaining position.

    Plus, Flanagan is not in the same league of hype as Sterling.

    In any event, I've never argued that every player subject to overpraise tries to hold the club to ransom, so your point is moot. I've merely argued that excessive praise leads to inflated egos, and may also lead to negative situations.

  39. But Henry is French... how is it in his interest to over-hype English players?

  40. With respect, that's utterly irrelevant. Who said anything about anyone having a vested interested in over-hype?

  41. The way you've structured your argument though makes it sound like an inevitability.

    When you say:
    "I'll probably be criticised for refusing to drink the Ibe Kool-aid, but a year ago, I argued that excessive praise for Sterling could be counter-productive, and look what's happening now" makes it sounds like everyone else was blinded to this point but you were able to see through it. It's not that simple. Players and their representation, and above all else the market, dictate their demands.

    Also, how are you going to stop this? You say that the club shouldn't over-praise players, but if as you say yourself, the English press machine creates 'ridiculous hype' whenever a new star emerges. what do you think is going to happen? Do you think if the club toned the praise down the player and his agent wouldn't be asking for big money? Despite the domestic and international press fêting the player consistently? I'm sure his agent is entirely aware of how much his client is worth, regardless of whether Rodgers says he's an "incredible technician" or something like that.

    If Coutinho can take the praise but is excluded from avarice due to lack of press reinforcement, then that suggests that the press is a bigger issue, does it not?

    I don't agree with your examples either. Sterling was named the best young player in Europe. He's also a key first-team player for us already. Do you really think he's going to accept a low wage? Martin Odegaard has barely played first team football and (if reports are to be believed) is probably being paid more than Sterling.

    Ashley Cole, whilst the idea of swerving off the road due to being offered 'only' £55,000 p/w, is distasteful to the common man, it's also justified in the context he lives in. He was one of the best full-backs in the world and was being offered a (comparitively) decent salary. Compared to the deals that inferior players at Arsenal had, I understand his displeasure.

    The truth is that over-praise by associates of Liverpool, past and present, likely makes little difference in this regard. Unless we can put an embargo on all media and fan (you do like to note the fans complicity in our own exploitation) hype, then it's merely a sideshow.

  42. To be fair, he's probably also encouraged to speak on stuff like that by his producers.

  43. Not everyone was blinded to the possibility. I'm sure that there are thousands of fans out there who saw the writing on the wall with Sterling.

    And it is that simple, IMO. In many cases, human beings are motivated by greed, avarice etc, and in the world of football, this is a regular occurrence.

    Blaming the agent is a gigantic cop-out, and you (and others) make it sound like players are meek little lambs with no input at all into how their agent proceeds.

    This just isn't true. Sterling - like so many other footballers - is an adult of sound mind, and his agent is an *employee*, not a superior. Players know exactly what they're doing, and they direct their agents to act in a certain way.

    As for stopping it - the media can't be controlled, but Liverpool can lead by example, and that means instituting an internal policy of cutting out the ridiculous excessive praise of young players. It should apply to Rodgers, all the players, and any current employee of LFC. The club should also reach out to ex-players, and request they stop making irresponsibly effusive public comments about teenagers/young players.

    That is absolutely achievable. The entire culture of the club in this regard needs to change, and it needs to come from the top. Rodgers is the biggest culprit, and it's arguably his fault that Sterling is holding out for more money.

    Rodgers has inflated his ego to such a ridiculous extent (labelling him the 'best young player in Europe etc) that Sterling now believes he's worth an obscene amount of money. The funny thing is that Rodgers also warns about giving players too much money too soon, and seemingly unaware of the irony of the situation.

    As for Sterling accepting a 'low wage' - do me a favour. £100k a week is not low by any stretch of the imagination, and it's attitudes like this that contribute to the problem.

  44. I think it is a good idea that Rodgers has finally kept his mouth shut about the Sterling scenario.

    Contracts like these do not need to be discussed in public as it adds fuel to the fire. Maybe Rodgers was told to zip it.

  45. We still do well without RS, as for glen and balo, he isn't that important for us, yes he has good quality, but still too far to be important......

  46. I guess that's where I'm confused, and perhaps it's a cultural thing.

    In America, I feel like coaches/managers in any sport here are typically less forthcoming in their press conferences.

    And that leads me to the question of why English players get over-hyped (as opposed to Brazilian, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, etc.). Unless they are, and it's just not as evident because we don't follow them to such a prevalent degree.

    I mean, you started talking about Henry, and then go into how he's jumping on the bandwagon. I can understand why Stevie G & Rodgers would praise an English player and overhype him (teammate, player). I don't understand what the ulterior motive is for Henry to do the same other than offer his opinion when asked.

  47. In my opinion, you're pretty spot on with regard to a new Club policy that should be instituted.

    After all, if I'm Sterling and I'm in negotiations, all I'd have to do is point to the words of the manager himself.

  48. A year ago you thought Sterling might hold the club to ransom now you think he IS holding the club to ransom.

    No doubt in a year or two Ibe will have contract discussions and you will say that he too is holding the club to ransom as you predicted - self fulfilling prophesy

  49. Hernry's Mum and dad should keep their noses out then

  50. That isn't even self-fulfilling prophecy. It's even better than that. It's a prophet just announcing that his prophecy has been fulfilled, *whether or not it has been*. This is obviously an excellent move in the prophecy business.

    Indeed this young prophet is clearly a world class talent who will be plying his opinions at the very highest level for years to come. We are very lucky to have a prophet of his technical and creative abilities soothsaying about Liverpool. But what I'd like to stress today is not his incredible rhetorical skill, but how rare and beautiful his use of punctuation is. It's exceptional to see such a correct deployment of the full-stop in one so divinely talented. Among the other prophets of the human era, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Nostradamus, Karl Marx, and David Icke, JK stands like a hero, a myth among legends, and I can't wait to see how his incredible gifts develop in the years to come.

  51. Ibe has been outstanding. His performances have been amazing offlate. He is absolutely fantastic with brilliant footballing brain. He has great technical ability and gels perfectly with the way Liverpool play. He does his defensive duties as well, extraordinary work ethic. What a player, absolute dynamite. Outstanding...outstanding...marvellous.

    I think I have at least added 30k more on his new contract?

  52. If we sign Pjanic for that means that Lallana and Markovic are failures.

  53. *sigh*...I'm sure there are vastly more important things to worry about at the moment than this. Mountain out of a bloody molehill.

  54. I never blamed the agent. I just cited him as a factor. A key party in the negotiations, which he undoubtedly is.

    If you want me to accept that Brendan Rodgers or an ex-player like Mark Lawrenson blowing smoke up Sterling's arse might have a major influence on him, then you must surely realise that Sterling is likely to put a lot of stock in the opinion of his agent- a man who, as you say, he has employed and who he therefore presumably trusts. What do you think has more influence on a 19/20 year old- your boss indirectly making positive comments about you, or someone who you've entrusted to get you the best financial deal advising you on financial matters?

    Whether Sterling thinks he's the best based on Rodgers comments maybe matters a little, but if his agent is smart enough (and this requires only basic intelligence on his part) to realise that Sterling is worth a lot of money to Liverpool and that plenty of clubs would be willing to pay it, then it's surely very easy for him to influence Sterling. He's speaking directly to the man. This business of gross over-praise is second hand. It happens via the middle-man of the media. Can it really have anywhere near as much influence as a confidant giving you financial advice based on his expertise? I reckon Sterling can probably better understand football talk than money talk and his agent would have far greater influence.

    As for Rodgers inflating his ego by calling him 'the best young player in Europe', you do realise that Sterling won UEFA's own award for the best young player in Europe? Rodgers is basically echoing something that is already considered correct by acclamation.

    Finally on the 'low' wage thing, that's just a typo. I meant 'lower' wage, which I think you can see in the context of the post (with regards to the Ashley Cole business). I'm talking comparatively. I'm saying why would Sterling take a lower wage when the conditions exist for him to get something greater or more on par with other players which he would consider himself equal to.

  55. I'm pretty sure he signed a new contract the day of the Basitkas game. That would surely have been at least four years so we need not worry for another two.

  56. Ibe hasn't signed a new contract yet.

  57. We definately need a top class midfielder, preferably a defensive player.
    Don't think Pjanic will come to us though, Chelsea would probably gazump us! Can't see us paying his wages for a start, that's why we never get our targets, just plan 'b' all the while.

  58. You're writing a book, you're not smart enough to write on the toilet wall, you steal everything and you still get it wrong, you're not even good enough to be a rank amateur, and the subject matter not even relevent anymore, sheesh!

  59. we need 2 or 3 marquee signings in the summer to push for the title

  60. Yeah apparently not. Not sure what or who they were talking about in the presser for Basitkas.

  61. Jaimie and everyone else, I am a long long long time follower but not a commenter. I have various reasons why but I had to comment on this one. For one there are way too many posts about or including Sterlings (Stirling if you believe others) contract talks and holding the club to ransom. Unfortunately you don't actually know fully how contract talks work, I am not criticising just stating you are factually inaccurate. It breaks down to the club 99% of he time initiate contract talks. Whoever makes the deals speak to the money men at the club then go to the players agent. The manager is informed literally only to say the players role at the club now and future and how important to the team. They club take this place their own (negotiable) price on him and then speak to the agent. As you have said many times the agent is the players employee and he is employed to make the best deal for the player, seeing as players don't have their own financial knowledge that is why they employ someone to do it for them. Offers and counter offers are made, agent then goes to player says they have offered x amount I think we can get more (as is his job), no one in the world hearing that would say no just take it, it's unfair to assume any different. Agent goes back makes more offers..the only input by the player is hearing a few numbers every now and then and taking agents advice to deal or not. If players had their own financial abilities and negotiation skills they would not employ someone to do it for them. Players have so little input it is scary. But that is how it works from top to bottom of football.
    Sorry everyone for such a long comment but it's been bugging me people speaking as if they no for fact when they don't.
    Having now posted this I feel a picture and regular posts might happen....sorry everyone 😄

  62. Thanks for posting, but with respect, it's clearly you who doesn't know how contract talks work.

  63. Apologies I may not have phrased it perfectly. Of course anyone with minor intelligence knows £130k a week is a ridiculous amount of money, no one will doubt that. I merely meant yes Sterling knows it's a lot of money but it's the agents role to decide if he's worth it or not, Raheem will take the advice of his paid professional. My meaning was mainly the agent literally does dictate the money then says 'squiggle there' to the player when he's finished his job.
    With respect Jaimie, and you will appreciate this more than others I should think, I can't go into detail how or why I do, but I do have intimate knowledge of how contract talks football. Which is a far different world to even investment banking contracts. In the mad outrageous footballing world, it works as I stated. Players go by what their agents recommend. As they don't know the in depth talks that take place in the offices.
    Don't get me wrong Sterling can say no take the 80k (for example) they have offered, even if the agent says no I can get you more he can say that, but no one in the world would.

  64. Allen was awful and his early challenge was a clear penalty to all except the referee. We got lucky there. The first challenge by Can was more of a sissy dive than meaningful contact.........
    The 'non call' against Sterling was a blatant 'make up' call for Allen poor challenge..............

  65. nope iv been going to anfield for 35 yrs

  66. 40 yrs lfc fan. Never missed a home game