Aribo joined Southampton on a free transfer from Scottish side, Rangers, where he scored twenty-six goals in a hundred and forty-nine games.
Southampton head coach, Russell Martin, has revealed that he won’t stand in the way of Super Eagles midfielder, Joe Aribo, or any other African player if they’re called up for AFCON by their country, Soccernet.ng reports.
Aribo, 27, has featured in 18 games for The Saints in the EFL Championships this season, starting six of them, as the club aims to return to the English top flight at the end of the season.
The Super Eagles midfielder broke the deadlock as Southampton put five past Swansea City yesterday, and drew praise from Russell, who mentioned he wouldn’t hold Aribo from representing his country.
“We can’t stop anyone. You want them to go there fit and come back fit. Joe needs to keep playing how he has been playing and I’m sure he will get into their squad. He has been a mainstay in their squad for quite a while. They go with everyone’s best wishes, as you want them to do well,” the 37-year-old coach told Daily Echo after Southampton’s big win.
Aribo was included in Jose Peseiro’s 40-man provisional AFCON squad, and Russell wished the attacking midfielder an injury-free tournament, jokingly teasing the ex-Rangers midfielder about a Super Eagles jersey.
“Hopefully they stay injury-free, that’s the biggest thing. Joe is incredibly proud to play for Nigeria. Every time he goes away a different member of staff asks him to bring one of his shirts back. I’ve asked him for his AFCON shirt for my son so he needs to get into the squad so he can bring a shirt back for him,” the Englishman added.
Nigeria have been drawn in Group C for the AFCON tournament, and they’ll face Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast in a bid to qualify from the group.