The Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer has insisted he was only thinking about Joe Aribo’s career when he said that Rangers was ‘not the right place’ for him to develop.
Aribo left Charlton to sign a four-year deal with Rangers at the end of his contract last summer.
And the midfielder has proved a success at Ibrox, where he marked his first start since suffering an injury in August with a goal against Livingston on Sunday.
Speaking amid reports that Aribo could be Rangers bound – despite being linked with English clubs like Brentford – Bowyer told The South London Press: “I worked so hard to get him to this situation he is in now.
“It is about progression for him. So it’s a shame if he gets pushed to somewhere where it is not going to benefit him in his football career.
“If he goes to Rangers that is not the right place for him to go for his football career.”
But asked to comment on Aribo’s progress earlier, Bowyer told Talksport: “It was never that straightforward. I wasn’t trying to say, oh like… it wasn’t a defined England/Scotland (thing). It wasn’t that. I was just thinking of the boy’s career.
“But, he’s gone to Rangers and he’s doing well. I never doubted for one second that he wouldn’t do well, because he’s an exceptional player and working under Steven Gerrard, who would only make him better. So it wasn’t that.
“But I just thought, (for) him as a development thing I thought Brentford would have been good for him. But I’m pleased for Joe and I’m pleased for Rangers that things are going well and hopefully they can keep moving forward together.”
Aribo’s latest goal was his 11th in 55 games for Rangers and set Gerrard’s side on their way to a 2-0 win which extended their lead to six points at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
The 24-year-old helped Rangers to a second-place finish last season, along with a League Cup final and the Europa League’s round of 16.
He also won the first of his four Nigeria caps after moving to Ibrox.
Bowyer’s Charlton suffered relegation back to League One in Aribo’s absence, but have made a promising start to the new campaign despite a summer of financial turmoil.