Manager accused of ‘wasting’ Rangers star

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Nigeria's coach Gernot Rohr looks on during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Semi-final football match between Algeria and Nigeria at the Cairo International stadium in Cairo on July 14, 2019. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo credit should read FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

A lot has been said about Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun’s involvement in Nigeria’s appalling collapse to visiting Sierra Leone recently.

However, it appears Gernot Rohr, the Super Eagles’ manager, has a similarly ‘dilemma’ to Steven Gerrard in that he struggles to deploy Aribo in the right way.

Nigerian press has discussed how Aribo is a completely different prospect to retired Obi John Mikel, and how it is unfair to indeed compare them. However Rohr appears to be wasting Aribo by deploying him in a double pivot formation, which is effectively the ‘Ryan Jack’ role, and absolutely not the ‘Joe Aribo’ position.

The big midfielder had a difficult match like the rest of his country in the week, and asking him to sit as effectively a defensive player, while he’s actually very good at defending, isn’t getting the best out of him and isn’t his forte.

Stevie too sometimes struggles to place him, often switching between having him in midfield or on the flanks. He doesn’t absolutely thrive in either of these slots, needing the 10 AM position to truly be at his best.

But right now Rangers aren’t really playing with that kind of system.

Sort of – it is an on-paper 4-3-3 but it is really a 2-8 because from Tavernier and Barisic forward Rangers are rather fluid and swap and change personnel. And indeed position.

Aribo ends up being quite dynamic and working the final third of the pitch anyway, so it still operates well even if we don’t get the absolute best out of him quite yet due to still regaining match fitness.

But Rohr is clearly wasting him as a DM, and Nigeria might be in for a long night tomorrow if the Germany boss does the same again.

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