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Steven Gerrard: Joe Aribo’s decision to join Rangers justified by Nigeria debut

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes Joe Aribo’s international breakthrough shows he is playing his football in the right place.

Aribo’s decision to move to Scotland from Charlton in the summer was criticised by Addicks boss Lee Bowyer and predecessor Chris Powell, with the former Leeds and England midfielder claiming a switch to Rangers would not benefit his career.

But the 23-year-old’s early form at Ibrox won him a first Nigeria cap and the midfielder netted in a 2-2 friendly draw with Ukraine.

Gerrard said: “I spoke to Joe, he was on a recovery day. He is in a fantastic place, smiling away.

“Congratulations to him, his first game and he manages to get a goal.

“And he was rewarded for his form as a Rangers player. It was his first call-up so it shows you he’s at the right place, playing football at the right level: European football, playing in Old Firms.

“At last he has been recognised as an international player.

“Joe Aribo is in the right place, trust me.

“They must have started watching him since he was playing for Rangers.

“They must be happy with him playing in Europa League games and playing in front of 51,000.

“The people who select for the Nigerian national team know now that he can play in big football games.

“I don’t know many players in the Championship who are playing for Nigeria.”

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