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Ranking Aribo and Nigeria’s top 6 midfielders in the world today

On the Southampton man’s 26th birthday, GOAL grades the Super Eagle star alongside his midfield compatriots

6.Innocent Bonke
The Lorient midfield man is an old-fashioned midfield destroyer who offers little else in possession. At 26, it remains to be seen if Bonke adds to his skill set but the likelihood appears slim. Super Eagles supporters are yet to see him extensively, but the recurring injuries to Wilfred Ndidi mean the ex-Malmo player is likely to get more invites to the national team.

5 Frank Onyeka

Just about edged by the next name on our list is Onyeka who had a decent first half of the season at Brentford last season before an underwhelming New Year ensued. While the former Midtjylland man has shown bits of his quality in the green jersey, greater consistency is required for club and country to have an even bigger role under Jose Peseiro going forward.

4 Peter Etebo

A debut Premier League season on loan at Watford was marred by a long-term injury that limited Etebo to just nine appearances (four starts) in 2021/22. The Stoke City man missed the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon but has since returned to the Super Eagles, playing a significant part in last month’s 10-0 annihilation of Sao Tome and Principe. His characteristics mean his skill set will prove to be valuable under Peseiro.

3 Wilfred Ndidi

Ideally ranked as Nigeria’s number one midfielder, injuries have slowed down the Leicester City man in the last few months. Thus, Ndidi ranks no higher than third in this grading, supplanted by Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi. Of course, a clean bill of health could see the erstwhile Genk player regain his spot as the in-controvertible top Super Eagles midfielder.

  1. Joe Aribo

The birthday boy has progressed over the last few years, with his time at Rangers culminating in a domestic cup success and European final. Now at Southampton, Super Eagles fans will hope to watch the versatile 26-year-old strut his stuff weekly in the Premier League.

Despite his enviable skill set, Aribo has never truly shown his best form for the national team, largely an upshot of saddling the ex-Rangers man with more defensive responsibilities in a midfield pairing.

  1. Alex Iwobi

While some observers will consider Iwobi a strange inclusion, the Everton man has played in central midfield consistently for the Toffees and the Super Eagles in the last few months. The former Arsenal man has appeared reborn under Frank Lampard, earning the trust of the past Derby County and Chelsea boss to deliver a series of strong performances. He was utilised in midfield in Nigeria’s last two competitive international games against Sierra Leone and Sao Tome, indicating a possible shift to this role under Peseiro.

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