Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo may not have fully recovered mentally from the ankle injury he suffered last year.
That is according to former Aberdeen and Leeds United striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the 24-year-old’s struggles for Steven Gerrard’s side of late.
Aribo was not at his best on Sunday as the Light Blues’ 15-game winning streak came to an end at Motherwell – the two sides sharing a 1-1 draw.
Since his return from a serious ankle problem, he has started 11 of Rangers’ last 14 Scottish Premiership fixtures and contributed three goals and two assists.
The injury kept the attacking midfielder sidelined for two months in the autumn and Whelan doubts whether he has regained full confidence yet.
“I think sometimes, after a long spell out, it can take you a while to get back up to speed,” he told Football Insider.
“Psychologically, it can difficult to be very positive and be sure that you won’t get injured again. It is a lot easier said than done. Nine times out of 10 it is your head, rather than your body which is the issue.
“Look, match fitness takes time. Getting back into the groove again takes time. You can be out for a couple of weeks and it can take time to get up to speed again.
“He needs that confidence and belief back. Good players never lose it and he won’t have, mentally he just needs to work harder. It will come back to him.
“Once he can overcome that, we will start to see the best of Aribo again.”