Super Eagles midfielder, John Mikel Obi, has stated in clear terms that he is pleased with his role in the Chelsea squad despite
only regaining his place in the team under interim boss, Guus Hiddink.
In March's edition of the Chelsea magazine titled 'Elegant Enforcer', Mikel revealed how he has developed over the years playing in the defensive midfield role for a decade at the club.
"I love doing my defensive duties, but at the same time, I love having the ball and always trying to be available so we can play out from the back," Mikel said.
"This is something we’ve talked about, something the manager has stressed – trying to play out from the back so we can always be in control of the game. I think doing this we have much more possession of the ball.
"I like having the ball and making the team play. When I was young, my natural position wasn’t as a defensive midfielder, so maybe that gives me a bit of an edge."
Mikel who is expected to make his wealth of experience count when the Super Eagles of Nigeria tackle Egypt in this week's first leg of their 2017 African Nations Cup double header, recalled how he was dazed by the calibre of players he walked into on his first day at the Chelsea dressing room.
"I came into the dressing room that day literally shaking," Mikel recalls. "I saw the players that were in there – the likes ofJohn Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, Geremi, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko – it was crazy. And I was just 19," he said.
"I was shaking the whole day because I couldn’t talk to any of them. I didn’t know what to say to guys like that. They were really nice guys, but it was scary. It can be tough coming into a dressing room like that as a younger player. You had to earn the right to be among them.