Ex-Scotland international Craig Burley has compared Philippe Coutinho instant impact at Aston Villa to Taribo West’s influence at Derby County when the former Nigeria international joined the Rams in November 2000.
On his return to the Premier League, Coutinho helped Aston Villa come back from a two-goal deficit against Manchester United on Saturday.
The former Liverpool midfielder scored the equaliser and had a hand in the first goal, despite being introduced as a 68th-minute substitute.
After the game, Burley mentioned Taribo as the only player he could remember that made such an impact at any of the clubs he played in during his 15-year career.
“Taribo is the player I can remember that had that sort of impact,” he said on ESPN.
“Taribo came on loan to Derby County from Milan when I was there, and he had a big impact because he was a quality footballer. He was magnificent.”
The retired Super Eagle arrived at Derby County in November 2000, and on his debut, he played all 90 minutes, helping the Rams secure a 2-0 victory.
That victory was Derby County’s first in 14 games. Before his arrival, the Rams had only managed seven points from a possible 39.
His ability was vital in helping the Rams avoid relegation. However, the 47-year-old’s ability wasn’t the only thing that wowed Burley. Taribo’s religious nature was also quite amusing to him.
“Taribo decided at some points that giving attention to church at Milan, where he had his own church was more interesting than playing for us at the weekends. He spent a lot of time there.”
“I remember we had to play a game at Charlton at the Valley on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“We had already played on Saturday, and Taribo had gone back to give his service to his church on Sunday, and I said to Jim (Derby County coach), he’s not coming back for the game on Tuesday, but Jim was like he’ll be there Craig.”
“And about an hour twenty minutes before the kickoff, I’m trying to tell Jim to put out the team sheet, and Jim said Taribo would be there, so we kept looking at the dressing room at Charlton.”
“I can’t remember when he came back, but he never made the game. However, that was just a one-off,” Burley added.
Taribo made 20 appearances for the Rams before leaving at the end of the 2000/2001 season.