Former Inter Milan defender Taribo West has criticised Rangers star Joe Aribo, suggesting he is too weak to play in midfield for the Nigerian national team, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.
Aribo made his senior debut for the Super Eagles in September 2019 after impressing at club level with the Gers during the early part of the season. He made an immediate impact, too.
The 23-year-old netted in a 2-2 draw against Ukraine before, a month later, opening the scoring against a star-studded Brazil team.
He then went on to turn out in two African Cup of Nations qualifiers in November.
But West, who himself earned 42 caps for the Super Eagles before his retirement in 2005, hasn’t been impressed.
“I’ve watched Joe Aribo play for Nigeria, but in my view, it’s clear he is yet to come to terms with it,” he said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun. “There’s no other way of putting this – I think Joe is not a bad player, but he needs time to adjust to African football.”
“It’s not the same as playing in Europe. In Africa, there’s no time on the ball and for me, Oghenekaro Etebo is a far better option, He’s quick, physical and reads the game.
“He should get Joe Aribo’s spot when he comes back. African football is just too physical for Joe.”
This is a pretty bizarre attack on a player who received plenty of praise following his first few senior international appearances.
There’s no doubt that the London-born midfielder does still lack consistency and is still working out his best position.
Yet, he’s shown plenty of potential for the Gers this season, scoring nine goals and registering eight assists, and has certainly turned heads on international duty.
🙌 #RangersFC midfielder Joe Aribo has won the most ground duels of any player in the squad (137).
— Rangers StatZone (@RangersFCsz) May 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Etebo, who cost Stoke City more than £6 million in 2018, has had a much less impressive campaign.
He struggled with injuries and performance levels over the first half of the Championship campaign before heading on loan to La Liga outfit Getafe in January.
Prior to the suspension of football amid the global health crisis, he had failed to register a single goal or assist for either club this season, across 22 appearances.