Joe Aribo ‘a brilliant player’ – Super Eagle’s heroics earn Southampton praise

Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo has continued to shine for his club since his return to Southampton from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Southampton manager Russell Martin has showered praises on the Nigeria midfielder, hailing him as a “brilliant player” following his heroics in the match against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Aribo clinched victory for the Saints with a late goal deep into stoppage time, securing a thrilling 4-3 win in the English Championship.

Joe Aribo
Photo by Icon Sport

The 27-year-old midfielder capitalised on a corner opportunity, calmly slotting the ball into the net in the 96th minute, further bolstering Southampton's aspirations for promotion.

Speaking after the match, Martin expressed his admiration for his contributions, stating, “The lads love him (Aribo), the fans love him. Hopefully, everyone’s really seeing what he has to offer.”

Newfound form for Aribo

Prior to the Africa Cup of Nations, Aribo wasn’t getting enough games to showcase his talent, but he seems to have been rejuvenated after his time with the Super Eagles.

Reflecting on his recent performances, Martin highlighted the midfielder's exceptional qualities both on and off the field.

“He's a brilliant player and an even better character,” Martin remarked, emphasising his positive influence within the team.

Photo by Icon Sport

Despite Aribo's previous exertions, including a notable display against Liverpool, Martin acknowledged the midfielder's resilience and determination.

“He probably deserved to play [against Liverpool], but he hadn’t played 90 minutes for a long time and was absolutely hanging on Thursday,” Martin disclosed.

The Southampton manager's faith in Aribo paid off handsomely as the midfielder seized the opportune moment to secure victory.

“I said to him there’ll be a chance for you at some point. I was completely guessing, but I hoped, and it’s fallen to him and he’s tucked it away,” Martin revealed.

Aribo's goal against Birmingham City marks his third strike in 24 league appearances for Southampton this season, underscoring his importance to the team's success.

Currently occupying fourth position on the table with 70 points from 35 games, Southampton's promotion ambitions receive a significant boost with Aribo's invaluable contributions on the pitch since his return from the AFCON, where he played some part in Nigeria bagging silver after losing 2-1 to hosts Ivory Coast in the final

Joe Aribo ‘a brilliant player’ – Super Eagle’s heroics earn Southampton praise
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.