Bursaspor of Turkey midfielder, Mikel Agu has disclosed that his real names is ‘Michael Ndubuisi Agu’ but he was popularly referred to as ‘Mikel’ during his childhood days because he styled his game after that of Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, and he quickly adopted the name.
In appreciation of the Tianjin TEDA of China star, Agu says Mikel Obi is his mentor and favourite player, especially as they both play in the same position at their respective clubs.
After starting in the Super Eagles tour of the French region in late May, Agu replaced “the real” Mikel in both legs of Nigeria’s tie with Cameroon in early September and the 24-year old is relishing the experience.
The midfielder, who is on loan from FC Porto of Portugal, made his competitive debut for Nigeria’s senior national team in September’s 4-0 rout of Cameroon in Uyo, replacing his boyhood hero and captain of the side John Mikel Obi in the second half.
In an interview with SportsDay, Agu disclosed: “Normally, the name Mikel came about after Mikel Obi played in the Under-20 World Cup.
“Then back in my street where I was playing football back in Benin City, Edo State, friends started calling me Mikel. They said we have similar styles and that was how the name came about.
“He is my mentor. He is a player I like so much, I followed his footsteps. He is my favourite player and we play in the same position.
“For instance at Chelsea he played at defensive midfield and in Bursaspor I play as a defensive midfielder too.
“I made my debut for the national team. It’s a good feeling made better by our good results which we hope we will finish off against Zambia.
“The experience has been good, very good. I’m happy to have played for my country, to wear the green and white Jersey.”
At Bursaspor, Agu plays alongside Eagles teammate, William Troost-Ekong and recently provided an assist for his compatriot to score their team’s only goal in a 1-3 loss at Kayserispor.
Agu, who was one of the early arrivals at Eagles camp ahead of Saturday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia qualifier against Zambia, said he is focused on having a good season in Turkey.
“For me, at this point, I will just focus on my club and help them finish in a very good position. For now, all I’m thinking is giving all my best focusing on the Turkish league and Bursaspor. Then we’ll see how it goes in the end,” he said.