His talent has never been in doubt since joining Glasgow Rangers. Though plagued with a nagging injury in his early days at Ibrox but since shaking off the injury, joe Aribo has proven the stuff he’s made of. It however did not come as a surprise that he was named in the SPFL Team of the Week. His manager, Steven Gerrard eulogised him as the ‘Real Joe’
After spending about eight weeks on the sidelines earlier in the season due to an ankle sprain, Joe Aribo is now playing the game of his life.
The Super Eagles midfielder has given credit to his family for their support during his injury struggles.
Back in August, the London-born Nigerian star damaged his ankle against St. Johnstone which ruled him out for two months, and he returned to action in the Old Firm derby with the Gers securing a 2-0 win over Celtic on October 17.
Aribo has been in fine goal scoring form recently which has seen him score in his last two matches for Steven Gerrard’s team.
He scored the opening goal in Rangers’ 4-3 win over Royal Antwerp in the first-leg of their Europa League fixture last Thursday and he followed it up with a beauty in their 4-1 league triumph over Dundee United on Sunday.
Aribo, who has scored seven goals in all competitions this season recalled his experience on the sidelines and the atmosphere in the Rangers camp.
“The occasion is great, we get a buzz playing in Europe,” Aribo told the media. “It was my first long-term injury and I thought I could come back and get up to speed straight away but it is more of a journey to get to that finish line.
“I spoke to my family a lot during my injury who helped to push me through that difficult time.
“I now know what to expect with any future injuries, the manager also helped as he spoke to me through his experiences with injuries and the patience required.
“The boys are in high spirits but we take it a game at a time and we are purely focused on the next match.”
The Nigerian international has been named as the Star Man in the SPFL’s Team of the Week.
BBC Craig Fowler hailed Aribo’s showing against the Tannadice side as “top class” as he “dazzled” in midfield for the Light Blues, helping himself to a goal in the process, saying: “A top-class performance from the midfielder was the inspiration behind Rangers’ 4-1 victory over Dundee United last Sunday as Steven Gerrard’s men moved closer to the title.
“The Nigerian international not only dazzled with his play on the ball, he also scored an excellent goal and is this week’s star man.”
Aribo has been in and out of the side due to poor form and injury but if he can replicate his performance from the weekend, he’ll be in a strong position.
With a string of crucial games on the horizon for the Gers, having Aribo performing at his best couldn’t have come at a better time for Steven Gerrard and his coaching staff.
The Super Eagles midfielder continued his fine goalscoring run with his sixth league goal of the season
He scored a goal and provided an assist as Rangers hammered Dundee United 4-1 in a Scottish Premiership encounter on Sunday.
Aribo, who scored in an Europa League seven-goal thriller last Thursday, assisted Ianis Hagi in breaking the deadlock at Ibrox Stadium in the 35th minute.
Following the half-time break, Aribo immediately extended Rangers’ lead with a stunning left-footed strike in the 48th minute.
The Gers currently hold an 18-point lead above second-placed Celtic who have a game in hand.
In his reaction, Gerrard lauded Aribo’s “fantastic” goal and he praised him for his hard work in training.
The Liverpool legend told the club website:“It was a fantastic strike, he is really back now. He was out for a long time, it was his first injury in his career and he had an illness on the back of that so it took him quite some time to get right back in the groove.
“He was fantastic today, not just the goal but his running power, his quick feet and the way he outplays people. He is a fantastic kid, you can’t get him off the training pitch, he’s always working on his game.
“He decided to come to Rangers to develop and grow and he is certainly moving in the right direction. There’s no surprise that he is getting a lot of good performances in his game right now.”
Aribo is a key fixture in Rangers’ midfield and he has contributed seven goals in all competitions so far this term.
The midfielder’s body of work this term has left observers wondering whether or not he’s ready to play at a higher level than Scotland.
Aribo will probably not register a more fortuitous assist in his career than the one that helped Rangers open the scoring against Dundee United on Sunday.
Forming part of the Rangers side that’s likely to topple Celtic domestically is the greatest compliment to the West African who’s primed to win the Glasgow side their first title since 2011 (they are 18 points ahead of their managerless rivals with eight games to play).
Despite missing almost two months of the season, the Super Eagles stat is the fifth-highest top scorer in the side and ranks one place lower for total goal contributions. Even more impressive is the fact he sits 12th in the entire league for goals and assists per 90 and rises to eighth spot in the whole competition when penalties are excluded.
All six Aribo goals have come inside the box but the finishes and type of goal have varied considerably. He’s by no means alien to spectacular efforts, having curled one in from an acute angle in January after beating two Ross County players with his movement, while there was a simple tap in against Livingston after holding his position at the far post with everyone drawn to the ball.