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Former Liverpool and Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe grateful to get “second chance” with National League Ebbsfleet United

New Ebbsfleet signing Jordon Ibe is “lucky and grateful” to be given a second chance with the club.

Ibe has fallen out of love with the game in recent years but has joined the National League side in a bid to revive a career that saw him play in the Premier League for Liverpool as a teenager.

Ebbsfleet have signed former Liverpool and Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe.
Ebbsfleet have signed former Liverpool and Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe.

A multi-million pound move followed to Bournemouth for the former England youth international but he’s struggled to recapture that form since leaving the Cherries in 2020.

Since a brief spell with Derby, Ibe has suffered a broken leg, spent time in Turkey with Adanaspor and bravely spoken publicly about his battles with depression.

“I feel like the time out was to humble myself and get my mind right,” said Ibe, who was an unused substitute during Ebbsfleet’s FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie with Slough at the weekend.

“I was speaking to my missus on the way to the game on Saturday and I said I feel like a kid again, going to football, because it’s been a while since I’ve put on club attire and gone to a matchday.

“It feels new but it’s not new because I’ve done it in the Premier League, so it’s refreshing. Not everyone gets a second chance but I’m lucky and grateful.

“This could have never happened and I’d be waiting for another club.”

Ibe has been training with the Fleet for a number of weeks, and he’s enjoyed being back in the environment.

It’s a stark contrast to the period he’s had out of the game and struggled to find the right club to give him a chance.

“It came at a time when Covid came as well so I was just stuck indoors,” said Ibe.

“It wasn’t the best time for me so just being in this environment and space, I mean it when I say it, it means a lot to me, even just coming in and training, being here afterwards and chatting to the players.

“I’ve a lot of respect for Damian (Irvine, chief executive) and the manager (Dennis Kutrieb). I feel I can trust them with anything so whatever they say, I will listen to. For them to take me on board has been a blessing.”

Ibe could feature for the Fleet at Slough in their FA Cup replay this evening.

“I’ve missed playing a lot, especially just watching games and thinking ‘I could have done this’,” he added.

“It’s great just to even be on the training pitch, to be myself again.

“Getting back fit and watching players train, I was thinking I missed so much of football and I really wanted to get in but I’ve just had to have patience and get myself fit mentally and physically, in the gym, and get up to standard. I’ve waited a long time and I feel ready.”

Dennis Kutrieb’s management style should work perfectly for Ibe, who joined Liverpool from Wycombe in 2012.

The German boss takes a keen approach in his players’ development on and off the pitch and is protective of his squad. He’s been impressed with Ibe so far.

“One part is the mental side obviously,” explained Kutrieb. “He played over 100 games in the Premier League so it’s a tough challenge to be in non-league as a young player, for me he’s still young at 27.

“I think that’s tough to take, that’s my honest opinion. He turned up with this attitude and tried to make an impact for us – and that’s amazing. This is the first step in the right direction.

“If he’s not getting setbacks and pulled down from his own demons, if that’s how you say it, then he will still make a massive impact for us. I would love to see that he is just focusing on and enjoying his football.

“If you’ve been in this situation, you don’t really think how beautiful football is. There’s times where you really hate football and we need to try and give him the love and joy back to football.”

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