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Uncertainty awaits Mikel as Iceland game draws closer

As the Nigerian team prepares to play their second game of the 2018 world cup against Iceland on Friday, uncertainty awaits a player and his position at the team.


/ by Editor
As the Nigerian team prepares to play their second game of the 2018 world cup against Iceland on Friday, uncertainty awaits a player and his position at the team. John Obi Mikel is the player with the no. 10 position. The Nigerian midfielder has been subject to criticism since the Super Eagles' 2-0 loss to Croatia in the opening game of the 2018 FIFA world cup.

The former Chelsea midfielder was deployed in the no. 10 position against Croatia but lacked creativity and influence in the advanced midfield position as he was shut out completely by the midfield combination of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. Several observers, analyst and pundits were quick to voice their discontent on the Super eagles captain who they believe failed to inspire the team.

Jay Jay Okocha one of the analyst in his interview with Nigeria football news media has advised that the Nigerian midfielder be brought back to a withdrawn role for the subsequent group games against Iceland and Argentina.

Jose Mourinho the tactician who tipped the Super Eagles to progress beyond the group stages have voiced out his opinion while analyzing Nigeria’s loss to Croatia at the Russia TV station RT. The Portuguese have echoed the statement of Okocha by responding that Mikel will be better in the defensive midfield position rather than in the creative hub of the team. Mourinho said, “Nigeria lost a good No.6 to get a bad No.10”.

John Obi Mikel began his football career as a creative midfielder back in Lyn Oslo and his 2005 FIFA U20 World youth championship but was converted to a more conservative midfielder by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

The decision concerning the position Mikel might be fielded rests totally on Gernot Rohr but the uncertainty it brings to the team remains another option. Gernot Rohr since his assumption of duty as head coach of the Nigerian team has always fielded Mikel behind the striker, an approach that has produced creativity, balance and result for the Super Eagles. The German has never fielded any Nigerian player in the no. 10 position while Mikel was on the pitch as he has shown huge faith on the former Chelsea midfielder.

John Obi Mikel within the course of his football career has proven to be adept at lots of tactics with different formations and different experienced manager. This could prove vital for his possible reshuffling within the team. The deployment of Mikel to the defensive midfield position could create room for the introduction of Kelechi Ihenacho or Ahmed Musa to the attacking department of the Super Eagles who are in need of results.

Mikel with his experience could be integrated with the youthful Ndidi or Etebo to build a platform at the middle of the park from which attacking players such Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Odion Ighalo could operate from. The biggest decision will be whether Gernot Rohr will deploy Mikel to the position which earned him prestige and trophies in his club days at Europe or still keep him in a position that earned him limelight into Nigerian national team.

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