By support

1st Aug, 2016 | 7:32am

Brad Smith: Liverpool academy graduate can be even better than Sterling

By Dominic Toner

Bournemouth defender Brad Smith has backed his new team-mate Jordon Ibe to become an England international.

The pair have linked up together under Eddie Howe after left-back Smith signed a four-year deal with the Cherries after leaving Liverpool.

Smith believes that 20-year-old Ibe can become a great player and mature in to a better player than Raheem Sterling.

“Jordan is a great talent, he’s already shown down here what he can do,” Smith told the Daily Star. “He’s got great potential and I hope he keeps pushing on and working hard and if he does he can reach the top.

“He and Raheem are very similar players, they both have bags of talent and a lot of potential. I think he can definitely be an England regular. He will be up there with Raheem, if not better.”

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Liverpool sold academy graduate duo Ibe and Sterling for a combined £64 million fee with the latter taking up the majority of that sum, after Manchester City had to pay just short of £50million to secure him.

Sterling is regarded as further ahead in his development as a player than Ibe despite being only a year older and has featured regularly for England in the senior squad.

Ibe has represented England at various youth levels and has begun life in perfect fashion since his move to Bournemouth this summer, the latest success scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over Cardiff in a pre-season friendly.

Liverpool decided to part ways with Ibe this summer and cash in for £15million.

The youngster featured in 27 Premier League fixtures under Jurgen Klopp although more than half to those came as a substitute.

The Merseyside club are still left with many talented options even though they let go of Ibe, with Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, James Milner and new signing Georginio Wijnaldum vying for a starting place.

In other Liverpool team news, their defender has agreed a loan move away from Anfield.