The manager of the Nigeria national team has backed ex-Rangers star Joe Aribo despite a lack of minutes at Championship side Southampton.

Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro was responding to questions on the situation of the 27-year-old midfielder who has found chances at a premium at St Mary’s.

With the silky Super Eagles number 10 coming off the bench in Nigeria’s 6-0 hammering of Sao Tomé and Principie, Peseiro was grilled on Joe Aribo’s situation.

Ordinarily, footballers who aren’t turning out at a club level won’t get a look in internationally and Joe Aribo is yet to start a game for the Saints this season.

“What I can say is that he doesn’t play too much in the club, yes,” said Peseiro. “But I believe in him.

“There are some players, not all the players, I think they have quality and capacity even without playing in the club.

“Of course, he didn’t get too much time but he played. Me and my staff see 40 to 50 matches each weekend and in the middle when they play UEFA competitions and we check them on the television, live.

“If he’s here, he is a good condition to play with us.”

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Aribo gets Nigeria backing as Rangers wait on Southampton bonuses

Rangers will have one eye on the situation following Joe Aribo’s initial £6m move to Southampton last summer, with the deal including an additional £4m in potential add-ons.

Whilst the specifics of these add-ons are not public knowledge, generally they relate to performances, club appearances, international appearances and any team success.

Despite starting brightly under Ralph Hasenhuttl last season, the sacking of the Austrian saw Nigeria international Joe Aribo largely benched as Southampton were relegated.

With Nathan Jones and Ruben Selles both not fancying the attacking midfielder, there’s been fresh hope under ex-Rangers defender Russell Martin at Southampton but so far it’s not really happened.

Portugal vs Nigeria - Friendly Game
Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Largely restricted to late substitute appearances, perhaps there’s a realisation at Rangers that the additional £4m of add-ons on the Joe Aribo deal might never be realised.

But if any of them relate to the player’s caps with Nigeria, then the club might be in luck with the national team’s manager suggesting Joe Aribo won’t be dropped anytime soon.

With reported interest from Serie A in the summer, if the situation continues at Southampton then his future might lie elsewhere too.

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