I spoke with Henry Nwosu on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, via a telephone conversation in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwosu is a retired Nigerian footballer who played at the 1980 African Cup of Nations that was hosted by Nigeria. He made his name in that competition as the youngest player and being a midfielder during his playing days, Nwosu is of the opinion that Mikel’s true potential could only be explored if he’s deployed as an attacking midfielder and not a defensive player.
Here is more on what Nwosu had to tell me…
Nwosu says Super Eagles midfielder, John Obi Mikel can truly achieve his full potential if he plays from the attacking line rather than playing as a defensive player.
Mikel was at his best mettle at the just concluded Rio Olympic Games where he helped Nigeria’s U-23 team claim the bronze medal after beating Honduras 3-2 in the third place match on Saturday, August 20. His contributions in terms of passes and creating chances for his teammates to score was one of the major highlights of Mikel’s outstanding display in Rio.
Despite being used as a defensive midfielder at Chelsea F.C. since joining the English Premier League club team in 2006, the 1980 African Cup of Nations winner, revealed to Nigerianreporter.com exclusively that the former Lyn Oslo star should be deployed to the attack on the senior national team.
“I am really impressed with Mikel’s performance at the Rio Olympic Games where Nigeria finished third in the Men’s football event. He showed that he’s a player that can play from the attacking line not just for the national team but also for Chelsea,” Nwosu said.
Nwosu continued, “I saw Mikel in 2005 during the FIFA World Youth Championship and I said to myself that this is a great talent for Nigeria and another Henry Nwosu. But after that competition, he joined Chelsea and was not the same Mikel. He was no longer enterprising and advancing and I concluded that Mikel can’t be the No. 10 player that we know”.
As if wanting to advice John Obi Mikel directly he added, “he must abandon his defensive style of play because it has limited his chances of showing what he’s made of as a player. Regardless of what he has achieved for Chelsea in the Premier League, I still believe that there is more to him than just shielding the defenders of possession of the ball”.