Monday Jun 20, 2022. 11:00
Nigerian midfielder Joe Aribo says he has put self doubt behind him following an outstanding spell for Scottish giants Rangers.
The 25-year-old, who moved to Ibrox in 2019 from Charlton Athletic, has made almost 150 appearances for the Glasgow club, registering 26 goals and 25 assists in the process.
Aribo told BBC Sport that he used to be a “shy player with doubts in my own ability” but he now considers himself to have been forged in the fire of high-profile games for both club and country.
He added, “Now I have self-belief, because I have the right people around me to give me that confidence to say ‘Yes, you’re the man that’s going to take on the game and change the game’.
“Some people like to take centre stage in everything they do in life, but I prefer to stay in the background and let others talk about my performance on the pitch.
“I honestly didn’t know I have played more games this season than any other player out there. I feel very happy to hear that.
“I also have got the strength from God – I know I can keep going whenever I feel tired.”
Part of his growth has come because Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has used Aribo in a range of different roles, pushing the player to expand his limits.
“Playing in different positions has helped me realise what I’m capable of doing and also given me an opportunity to keep growing,” explained the Super Eagles star.
“As a young footballer craving a chance to play, you’d grab the chance to even play in goal. But here I am being asked to play for my club in different roles on the pitch, I was happy to do it.
“I must say I am no longer the player I was after going through that phase [of self-doubt].
“I am grateful to the manager for the trust, my teammates for believing in me and supporting me.”
Aribo has been linked with a move to the Premier League, but insists he is just focusing on his work with Rangers.
“With all that stuff I don’t really read into it and I just focus on my football, because you can’t have distractions as it won’t allow you to play the best and be the best that you want to be,” he said.
“Which is obviously what I want to be every time I play. I just want to be focused and ready to go.”