Steven Gerrard has told Rangers TV that Joe Aribo’s goal on his international debut for Nigeria proves that Rangers is the perfect place for the midfielder – in comments that certainly appeared to be aimed at his former boss.
Aribo has made an impressive start to his Ibrox career after joining from Charlton Athletic in the summer. And he was rewarded for his form by being handed his first call-up to Nigeria’s squad for this international break.
The 23-year-old would mark his international bow with a goal. And Gerrard clearly felt that the honour vindicated his decision to join the Gers.
Addicks boss Lee Bowyer told the South London News during the summer that he thought that Aribo would be making a big mistake if he decided to join Rangers after helping his side secure promotion to the Championship.
And with a wry smile, Gerrard certainly appeared to have Bowyer’s comments at the forefront of his mind as he commented on Aribo’s rise over recent months.
“He was rewarded for his form as a Rangers player,” he told Rangers TV. “It was his first call-up so it shows you that he’s at the right place, playing football at the right level. European football, playing in Old Firms, at last he’s being recognised as an international player.
“They must have started watching him since he started playing at Rangers. They must be happy with him playing in Europa League games, playing in front of 51,000.
“I don’t know many players in the Championship who are playing for Nigeria,” he went on to add.
It is no surprise that Gerrard is only too happy to remind everyone of what Bowyer said. Aribo is playing regularly for the Gers as they look to battle in four competitions.
And it would not be a shock to see the midfielder become a regular feature of Nigeria’s squads in the coming years.
It is, of course, too early for Aribo to prove that he definitely made the right decision to join Rangers. But there is no question that he has made a fantastic start and Gerrard had every right to take aim at Bowyer’s recent comments.