Nigeria legend Amuneke backs Southampton’s Aribo and Nottingham Forest’s Awoniyi to light up Premier League

Taiwo Awoniyi Nottingham Forest 2022-23Getty Images

Nigeria legend Emmanuel Amuneke has tipped Southampton midfielder Joe Aribo and Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi to shine in the Premier League following their moves from the Scottish Premiership and the Bundesliga respectively this summer.

Aribo signed for Southampton for £10 million after three years with Rangers while Awoniyi sealed a £17 million move from Union Berlin, both players joining the English top-flight on the back of impressive seasons from their respective clubs.

The two had disappointing Premier League debuts, Aribo unable to put his imprint on the game as Southampton lost 4-1 away to Tottenham Hotspur while Awoniyi didn't score for Nottingham as they suffered a 2-0 home loss to Newcastle United last Saturday.

However, former Super Eagles winger Amuneke, has no doubts about their qualities and believes they will come good soon.

“Awoniyi and Aribo are great talents,” Amuneke told Nigeria’s Punch Sports Extra.

“It is obvious to see, when you see Aribo on the ball, his decision making and forward runs with the ball, show his quality. I think they just need time to settle in well in their teams. The intensity of the Premier League cannot be compared with other European leagues, so, I feel they are adapting.”

“I trained Awoniyi as a young player, he is a very good player technically, but of course, there are other aspects that must be improved,” added the former Nigeria U17 coach.

Former Nigeria shot-stopper and current Super Eagles goalkeeper trainer Ike Shorunmu also weighed in on the issue urging patience with the two.

“Strikers are being judged by the number of goals they score and I am confident that Taiwo will justify his move to the Premier League,” said Shorunmu.

”It was a difficult start to the EPL for them, but their efforts for their teams were good. If Awoniyi puts in more effort, he will score goals and that applies to Aribo too.”

Aribo joined Rangers from English side Charlton in 2019, making 149 appearances while scoring 26 goals, including nine and eight assists last season, while Awoniyi scored 20 goals in 43 games in all competitions in 2021-22 as Union Berlin finished fifth to qualify for the Europa League.

Southampton face Leeds United in their next league fixture on Saturday while Forest host West Ham on Sunday.

Aribo & Awoniyi transfers

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