Chelsea fans recently watched Nigeria play during the Confederations Cup and wondered who the majestic, elegant playmaker in the number 10 shirt was. With his inventive range of passing, ability to cover ground, make tackles and interceptions, he pulled all the strings in a dangerously-looking attacking unit. ‘He’d be a good signing for us,’ Chelsea fans probably thought, in need as they are of that type of player in deeper midfield areas. And then the camera zooms in on his shirt. And it’s John Obi Mikel.
John Obi Mikel
So why was he playing like that for Nigeria, but seems to have lost his way at Chelsea? Can he forge a future for himself under Jose Mourinho, or will he need to move on?
Mikel played in Brazil like the player Chelsea thought they had signed for £16m in 2006 when he was just 19 and has intermittently shown at Stamford Bridge. Since being at Chelsea he has changed from a buccaneering all-rounder to more of a defensive shield, and it doesn’t really suit him. His defensive discipline and intelligence isn’t his strong point. In his more restricted role as a defensive shield he isn’t able to show off his athleticism. He is required to play a very simple passing game at Chelsea, always moving the ball on quickly and easily to his team-mates.Continue reading