Shelley Kerr raves about Joe Aribo as Rangers thrash Aberdeen
BBC Sportscene pundit Shelley Kerr was blown away by Joe Aribo’s performance at left-back for Rangers on Saturday.
Steven Gerrard’s men capped their historic season by winning 4-0 against Aberdeen at Ibrox, ensuring they ended the league campaign unbeaten and with over 100 points before James Tavernier lifted the trophy.
Aribo, 24, was drafted in to play at left-back again for the Gers due to Borna Barisic’s injury and the Nigeria international managed to impress on the flank with Ryan Kent.
Speaking on BBC Sportscene on Saturday night, Kerr waxed lyrical about the unpredictable Aribo.
“Aribo is a different kind of player to Barisic. Barisic will normally put a cross in early but I think both of Kent and Aribo on that left-hand side, they were absolutely devastating.
“Kent had a free role but if one was higher up, the other one was deeper and vice-versa.
“They did really well, little combinations and if you’re in the Aberdeen defence, you don’t want to face either Kent or Aribo.”
She added: “The one thing about Joe Aribo, he’s so comfortable with the ball at his feet and you don’t know what he’s going to do all the time.”
Who would have thought Aribo could play so well at left-back?
The Nigerian has been great this season, scoring eight goals and supplying seven assists in 42 appearances across all competitions.
Steven Gerrard has usually played the ex-Charlton ace in an attacking midfield role and many fans have been frustrated by his defensive work rate when asked to play deeper.
However, there’s no denying that Aribo’s been able to come alive on the left-flank in the last couple of games when Barisic and Calvin Bassey have been unavailable.
While those games were against Livingston and an Aberdeen side who had nothing to play for, Aribo’s stunning performances at left-back should leave Gerrard with no doubt that he can rely on the Nigerian to play there when needed next term.
That could save the Gers some money in the transfer market so they don’t have to go out and sign a new back-up left-back or anything like that.
Rangers’ style of play means their full-backs do way more attacking work than defensive.
We wouldn’t be too keen on seeing Aribo play at left-back against good teams in Europe or against Celtic but he can definitely do a job against some of the lesser teams we’ll face next term.
In other Rangers news, Michael Stewart reacted to the scenes on Saturday with a one-word tweet.