'I believe in him' - Super Eagles coach Peseiro defends invitation of Southampton midfielder AriboPublished: September 10, 2023
Nigeria manager Jose Peseiro faced the cameras on Saturday, on the eve of his side's dead rubber 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against São Tomé and Príncipe, and one of the questions put to the Portuguese by reporters was about Joe Aribo.
Aribo struggled for playing opportunities at Southampton in the second half of last season and his situation has not changed in the new campaign as he continues to be a bit-part player under manager Russell Martin.
The versatile midfielder has logged 77 minutes from a possible 540 in all competitions since the season started.
Despite being out of favour at the St Mary's Stadium, Peseiro handed Aribo a call-up for the meeting with São Tomé and Príncipe.
While Peseiro has several options in attack, the same cannot be said of the midfield so much so that Alex Iwobi has been deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Peseiro stated that he has confidence in the abilities of Aribo despite his struggles at Southampton.
"What I can say is that he doesn't play too much in the club, yes. But I believe in him," Peseiro said.
"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."
Italian Serie A club Hellas Verona had concrete interest in signing Aribo in the recently concluded transfer window but Southampton did not sanction the move.
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