Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo made a stunning start to his international career last night as he hit the net after only four minutes and immediately made himself a big fan of the Nigerian support – but could it lead to a tug of war over his international future?
The former Charlton ace made an instant impression with African fans absolutely raving about his performance but until he plays in a competitive game, he could still choose to switch to England.
Quick switch! @NGSuperEagles XI vs @FFUKRAINE in Dnipro. Substitutes: Ezenwa, Onuachu, Moses, Maja, Dennis, Iheanacho, Esiti, Awaziem, Okoye, Idowu #SoarSuperEagles #UKRNGA #Team9jaStrong Updates via @NGSuperEagles pic.twitter.com/jW6lvIC0sn
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Aribo was born in London so qualifies for England without needing to jump through any hoops but was never a youth international for the Three Lions at any level.
When he left Charlton to cross the border and join Rangers, several Addicks legends said he’d made the wrong move and suggested his potential could take him a lot further than Ibrox.
After an impressive start for the Gers, and an even better maiden international appearance, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’d started turning some heads at St. George’s Park.
There would obviously be much tougher competition for a place in the side for Aribo but after seeing Declan Rice jump ship from Ireland to represent England, they are clearly looking at players who have dual eligibility.
Aribo might not quite be at a level to force his way into the England side immediately but if he continues the way he’s started at Ibrox then it wouldn’t be a shock if he was there before long.
Of course, there’s always the prospect of Aribo having family loyalty to Nigeria and wanting to represent the country his parents moved to the UK from.
It would be completely understandable that he would reject any overtures from England over switching nationality – but it would also be a big affirmation that he’s doing the right things in making a name for himself.