We recently produced a piece critical of Joe Aribo, before suggesting he be given time. He is certainly not justifying our faith yet, but hopefully he will, but it was a comment to the original piece we were intrigued by.
One reader wondered why, despite our-then criticism of the new recruit, we hadn’t recommended Greg Docherty in his place instead.
After all, many people know of our opinion of Docherty, that we rate him hugely, and of course we’ve made a big deal of how Docherty secured better stats than Aribo in League One for a worse team than Joe’s Charlton.
While the first few performances of the Nigerian international did start to glimpse at his potential quality, unfortunately that’s all it has ever really remained. He has a couple of very nice moments in games (headed assist for Morelos’ goal, backheel for his earlier shot for example v Livi) but overall he does not impact games significantly and doesn’t seem to fit in, frankly.
So this made the reader wonder why we weren’t advocating Docherty instead.
We never addressed this, and with Aribo continuing to do ok but little more, the case for Docherty becomes a bit more compelling.
While we’re not knee-jerk reacting to the 23-year old’s displays, we are strongly suggesting Docherty has probably earned a shot in matches that matter, rather than occasional outings against East Fife.
He has earned the right to push Aribo more, because it looks right now like Aribo is a certain starter if fit and Docherty has to make do with being on the bench at best.
And of course, the Scot is not in the UEL squad for the group stage, which really must be a kick in the teeth for him, especially given he still wasn’t involved v Livi.
It does seem he’s a player Gerrard just doesn’t rate, and nothing he ever does will ever change that – but he deserves the chance to be far more part of the rotation than he currently is.
Whether the manager will ever agree with us on that remains to be seen.