Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that youngster Jordon Ibe would not have been as influential this campaign if it wasn't for a loan spell at Derby County at the beginning of the 2014/15 season.
Ibe helped the Rams in their promotion challenge scoring five goals in 24 Championship games.
Rodgers, who facilitated the 19-year-old's temporary switch to the Championship, believes that the London-born player needed game time to push on.
"He just needed experience," he told the official Liverpool website.
"For young players, people forget that when you're playing in youth football and reserve football, you're playing in front of not so many people.
"So to have to feel the pressure of going out to perform for a group of fans, we felt that was something he needed. But it was important for him not just to go to any club, he needed to go to the right club.
"When he went to Derby with Steve McClaren, they played a great level of football. Steve is a very experienced manager who has worked at all levels.
"He developed very, very well there. He certainly came back a young man and now the opportunity and responsibility is there for him to make the next step and become a regular."
Since his loan spell at Derby County, Liverpool have tied Ibe down to a long-term contract at the club. Due to his success away from Anfield Ibe was recalled early to help Liverpool in the latter stages of their Premier League campaign.
Rodgers explained why he believes Ibe has everything needed to become the best:
"He's technically very, very good. He's very clean with his technique, both feet and a lovely touch on the ball," he added.
"He's a player that you need to give instruction to, but not too much or you dampen all that flair and style that he has.
"He's technically gifted, blessed with physical attributes of speed and strength naturally, and obviously over the next few years it's about strengthening up that mentality of the game, learning the game tactically and hopefully improving consistency."
Ibe is expected to play a more prominent role next season - his first full campaign in the Liverpool first-team - and it is expected that Rodgers will still be at the helm to help further the teenager's development.
The Liverpool boss did just that with Raheem Sterling and it could be that the potential departure of the coveted England international results in Ibe taken on duties of even more responsibility in 2015/16.
Liverpool fans: can Jordon Ibe step up if Raheem Sterling was sold? Let us know below!
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