Amuneke backs Aribo, Awoniyi to still shine in the Premier League

Amuneke has thrown his weight behind Joe Aribo and Taiwo Awoniyi after both Super Eagles stars suffered defeat on their Premier League debut

Joe Aribo (R) with Nigeria teammate Taiwo Awoniyi before the Super Eagles' Africa Cup of Nations game against Sudan

Former Nigerian international Emmanuel Amuneke has backed current Super Eagles stars Joe Aribo and Taiwo Awoniyi to find their feet in the Premier League.

Amuneke explained that as soon as Aribo and Awoniyi get fully accustomed to the new league and their new clubs, they will be able to play their best football.

Aribo joined Southampton FC from Rangers on a deal worth up to £10m while Awoniyi joined Nottingham Forest on a club-record deal of £20.5m from Bundesliga side Union Berlin.

Amuneke went on to point out that both Aribo and Awoniyi are great additions to their sides, stating that Aribo's ability to carry the ball and move into attacking positions would be evident once he gets used to the intensity of the Premier League.

In an interview with Punch Sports Extra, Amuneke also defended Aribo on his performance on his first appearance in the Premier League, saying that he (Aribo) did his best despite Southampton going down 4-1 against Tottenham Hotspur.

Amuneke said: "Awoniyi and Aribo are great talents. 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. Aribo did his best in his role."

The former Nigerian U17 manager noted that Nottingham Forest forward Awoniyi has the technical abilities to survive, having previously coached the former Union Berlin attacker.

“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," Amuneke said.

Aribo is expected to be in action again on Saturday, August 13 when the Saints host Leeds United at the St. Mary's Stadium while Awoniyi would be hoping to get his first Premier League start against West Ham United on Sunday, August 14.

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