Joe Aribo: Rangers and Nigeria man coming into his own for club and country

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Joe Aribo: Rangers and Nigeria man coming into his own for club and country

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https://www.bbc.com/sport/africa/61810865

Nigeria's Joe Aribo played 57 times for Rangers in the 2021-22 season
After starting off as a shy footballer in England, Nigeria's Joe Aribo is excited by his transformation into a key player for club and country.
The London-born midfielder played a total of 70 games last season - more than any other player on the planet.

He clocked up 5,571 minutes over 57 appearances for his Scottish club Rangers and 13 outings for Nigeria, which saw him travel across Europe, Africa and North America.
The 25-year-old has come a long way since he began his professional career at Charlton Athletic, with whom he won promotion from League One before securing a move across the border to Rangers.

Scottish Premiership and Cup titles have followed, with 26 goals and 25 assists in 148 appearances making him one of the Ibrox side's most prized assets.

Not bad for a player who has always preferred to stay in the background.

"Funnily enough I was always this shy player with doubts in my own ability," Aribo told BBC Sport Africa.

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"But now I have self-belief, because I have the right people around me to give me that confidence to say 'Yes, you're the man that's going to take on the game and change the game'.

"Some people like to take centre stage in everything they do in life, but I prefer to stay in the background and let others talk about my performance on the pitch.

"I honestly didn't know I have played more games this season than any other player out there. I feel very happy to hear that.

"I also have got the strength from God - I know I can keep going whenever I feel tired."

Gratitude towards Rangers boss
Joe Aribo with Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Aribo has thanked Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst for his belief in him
Aribo has often been praised as being very mobile and dynamic, with the ability to burst past a player, create and score goals.

Those qualities have seen him establish himself with Nigeria and proved indispensable to Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst across the field.

"Playing in different positions has helped me realise what I'm capable of doing and also given me an opportunity to keep growing," said Aribo.

"As a young footballer craving a chance to play, you'd grab the chance to even play in goal. But here I am being asked to play for my club in different roles on the pitch, I was happy to do it.

"I must say I am no longer the player I was after going through that phase [of self-doubt].

"I am grateful to the manager for the trust, my team-mates for believing in me and supporting me."

On the move?
Nigeria's Joe Aribo talking to former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard
Former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is reportedly looking to lure Aribo to Aston Villa
After a successful season in Glasgow, where he helped Rangers win the Scottish Cup and scored in the Europa League final, the Super Eagle has been linked with a reunion with Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa.

There has also been reported interest from Crystal Palace and Brentford and, as Aribo enters the final year of his contract, Rangers may look to cash in during the transfer window.

However, the midfielder refuses to dwell on his future and the rumours about a move to the Premier League.

"With all that stuff I don't really read into it and I just focus on my football, because you can't have distractions as it won't allow you to play the best and be the best that you want to be," he said.

"Which is obviously what I want to be every time I play. I just want to be focused and ready to go."

Losing the domestic title to bitter rivals Celtic and then missing out on a continental success on a special night against Eintracht Frankfurt left its mark on Aribo.

"As you know football is like a rollercoaster, it has its ups and downs, but I've enjoyed it all," he added.

"It's been a long season and I played a lot of games but as a whole I'm happy to get silverware. A bit disappointed about the league and Europa League defeat, but to win a trophy is a good thing.

"Before I came to Scotland I didn't realise how big and special the club is or imagine having the most passionate fans around us. They're the best fans.

"I am happy to be writing a good story with the club and we go again next season with the hope of winning silverware."

A 'new chapter' with the Super Eagles
Joe Aribo in action for Nigeria
Joe Aribo played 13 times for Nigeria during the 2021-2022 season
At international level, this year has been tough for Aribo and Nigeria.

The West Africans suffered a round of 16 exit at this year's Africa Cup of Nations finals and a 2022 World Cup play-off defeat against fierce rivals Ghana in March.

The three-time African champions are rebuilding under new coach Jose Peseiro and have begun their 2023 Nations Cup qualifying campaign with two wins.

Aribo's final game of the season came in a 2-1 qualifying win over Sierra Leone, and he was an unused substitute as Nigeria thrashed Sao Tome e Principe 10-0.

"I just want to say I'm sorry because I know how disappointing it was not going to the World Cup. But we'll be back I know that for sure," he said.

"We just need to grow with this new manager. It's a new chapter and we just need to get together and stay strong as a team, and we'll get to where we need to be."
Aribo's season in numbers:
Scottish Premiership: 34
Scottish League Cup: 3
Scottish Cup: 2
Champions League play-offs: 1
Europa League: 17
World Cup qualifiers: 7
Africa Cup of Nations: 3
Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers: 1
International friendlies: 2
Goals (all comps): 9
Assists (all comps): 11
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Re: Joe Aribo: Rangers and Nigeria man coming into his own for club and country

Post by Lolly »

There is still a lot left in the tank from this boy. I hope he gets a move to a tougher league and stretches himself a bit.
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Re: Joe Aribo: Rangers and Nigeria man coming into his own for club and country

Post by Enugu II »

Lolly wrote: Sat Jun 18, 2022 6:27 pm There is still a lot left in the tank from this boy. I hope he gets a move to a tougher league and stretches himself a bit.
There is no question about this player. He is a true baller. 👍
The difficulties of statistical thinking describes a puzzling limitation of our mind: our excessive confidence in what we believe we know, and our apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in. We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events -- Daniel Kahneman (2011), Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics
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Re: Joe Aribo: Rangers and Nigeria man coming into his own for club and country

Post by Rawlings »

Why do Nigerianese keep advising Ghanaians not to include foreign-born-and-bred players on the team, when Naija's starting 11 is usually made up of 50% non-Nigerians, e.g. Aribo?
Okoye -- O. Aina, TroostEkong, Bassey, Z. Sanusi --- Aribo, Ndidi, Ogochukwu Frank, Chukwueze --- V. Moses, Osimhem

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