Super Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has declared that skipper of the side, John Mikel Obi is blending well with the squad, despite having been away since June last year, when he last played for the team in World Cup match against Argentina.
Since that match that saw Nigeria crash out of the group stage at Russia 2018, Mikel has not starred in a single game for the Eagles, and missed the entire stage of the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, but Rohr says the former Chelsea star is picking up the pieces very fast.
In Mikel’s absence, Rohr gave five players their debuts, such that the Eagles’ captain is meeting Paul Onuachu, Semi Ajayi, Jamilu Collins, Samuel Kalu and Samuel Chukwueze for the first time, yet the Franco-German gaffer says the skipper is integrating pretty well with everyone.
Rohr declared further that all the five newcomers are also excited to finally get their chances of training alongside the midfielder, who has 85 international caps for Nigeria.
Mikel, who has also played for Lyn Oslo of Norway and Tianjin Teda of China, from where he had a short term contract with English lower division side, Middlesbrough this season, is the most experienced player in Rohr’s current Eagles’ squad.
The gaffer admitted he will need motivational qualities and leadership acumen that Mikel carries and should be able to tout during Egypt 2019, as he has played in four editions of the competition, even being part of the squad that won the continental title at South Africa 2013.
Rohr said: ‘”Since the World Cup we have five or six new players who did very well, so it is my job now to integrate the players with Obi Mikel.
”There was no problem with his integration, the players are happy to see him back again, he’s working hard.
“He had a good second half of the season with Middlesbrough, and his leadership role in the team will help these young players in Egypt.
”We have six standby players, two played in the U20 World Cup and the other ones are ready if there’s injury.
“I don’t want to have any injuries, that’s why we are preparing this team very well.”