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Mourinho is entitled to his opinion, says Mikel


Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel (R) and Nigeria’s German coach Gernot Rohr address a press conference at the Essentuki Arena in southern Russia on June 20, 2018.<br />The Nigerian national team has intensified training ahead of second match against Iceland at the ongoing FIFA 2018 World Cup tournament in Russia. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Super Eagles’ Captain, John Obi Mikel, said yesterday that he will continue to do his best in the service of the country no matter the role assigned to him by the coaches.

He also assured Nigerians that the national team would strive to beat Iceland tomorrow to keep its hopes of qualifying for the second round of the on-going FIFA World Cup alive.

Responding to his former coach, Jose Mourinho’s criticism of his role for the Super Eagles at the competition in Russia, Mikel said the ex-Chelsea manager had the right to his opinion, adding, however, that he had been successful in his advanced position for club and country for over two years.


Mikel played as an attacking midfielder in Nigeria’s opening 0-2 loss to Croatia at the on-going World Cup prompting Mourinho to question his ability to operate as a number 10.

Mikel operated as a defensive midfielder during his time in Chelsea under Mourinho. He currently operates as a central defender for his Chinese club.

After the game against Croatia, Mourinho described Mikel as ‘a bad number 10 and a good number 6,’ prompting some pundits to question Rohr’s decision to play the Super Eagles’ captain ‘out of position.’

Speaking during the Eagles’ press conference in Essentuki yesterday, Mikel said: ‘‘I have played in this advanced role for close to two years now and people never complained until we lost this game.

‘‘I understand the feelings of everyone because of the result and how we played.

Personally, I am ready to play anywhere the coach wants me to play.

I am comfortable with any of the roles, whether in a more offensive or defensive role.

The most important thing is the team.’’

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