An unexplained late withdrawal from the Nigeria squad may have left the door ajar for Joe Aribo to start against Brazil on Sunday.
The two nations are set to face off in a glitzy friendly at the Singapore National Stadium, but Stoke City midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo will not be involved.
He was expected to add to his 33 caps in the middle of the park but hasn’t travelled with the squad.
“Stoke City of England’s Oghenekaro Etebo is a late withdrawal from the roster, but all the other 21 players trained on Thursday morning and will train twice on Friday,” read an official Nigeria Football Federation statement, as quoted by Punch.
Rangers ace Aribo in line to start?
Etebo’s absence means there are now only five midfielders in the squad – Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi, Anderson Esiti, Ramon Azeez and Aribo [thenff.com].
You would imagine Premier League duo Iwobi and Ndidi are likely to start.
Therefore, it looks to be between Aribo, Esiti of PAOK and Azeez of Granada for the remaining one or two slots, depending on the formation.
Surely, given that Aribo impressed and netted on his debut last month, he’ll be given the nod.
Outside of September’s Old Firm, he’s been outstanding since joining Rangers and he appears to have recovered from a nasty cut to his forehead sustained against Livingston recently, which required 20 stitches.
Even if he isn’t named in the XI, though, he’s surely likely to play some part for the Super Eagles, and it’ll be great to see him turn out against Neymar and co.