With his finest performance of the season, Joe Aribo clicked right back into form following a little dip the past month.
The Nigerian international, lauded by Steven Gerrard post-match, had an excellent night, particularly in the first half, and tore chunks out of Brondby’s midfield and defence, and clearly should have had a penalty too, but it was Gerrard’s comments that he wants Aribo to be ‘angry’ which stood out the most, and showed a new side of the ex-Charlton man’s game.
Aribo is a classy number 10, who has outstanding composure and great strength on the ball, but in an abstract reference to his admittedly reckless challenge v Hearts which got him a lucky yellow, his manager encouraged more of that kind of grit and attitude and willing to roll his sleeves up.
Aribo is already excellent at picking opponents’ pockets, stealing the ball regularly in matches, but with all the strength and quality he has on the ball, his boss is now encouraging him to show that nasty side a bit more, in a ‘nice’ way, Stevie said.
He’s right. Sometimes aggression helps, as long as it’s kept under control, and while Aribo is in no way a malicious player, adding a tough side to his play can only help.
His physique definitely helped last night, and while he did lose the ball a few times, he kept fighting and was the aggressor more often than not, and frankly Brondby struggled with it.
If you have composure and strength, adding a tough side too will only see your game bloom more.
Aribo is already hard enough to shake off the ball, he’s going to be doubly so now.
And we can’t wait.