Football

Mikel has become the Nigeria captain.

Chelsea's John Obi Mikel named Nigeria captain

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been appointed captain of the Nigeria national team by head coach Samson Siasia.

ESPN reports that the 28-year-old has been awarded the skipper's armband from CSKA Moscow winger Ahmed Musa due to his status as the most experienced member of the Super Eagles squad.

The former captain has said he supports Siasia's decision to hand the captaincy to Mikel, who has earned 72 senior caps for his country since making his debut in 2006.

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"Mikel is the oldest serving player in the team and it is the right thing for him to have the armband," Musa said.

"This is just to correct what was done in the past.

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"The most important thing for us right now is to concentrate on the two games in front of us and make sure that we beat Egypt and qualify for the [African] Nations Cup."

Mikel has been a key member of the Nigeria team for the best part of a decade, making his selection to lead the current squad a rather obvious choice.

However, with John Terry set to depart at the end of the season, should the long-serving midfielder be considered to become the next Chelsea captain?

Despite his incontestable leadership qualities, Mikel polarises opinion among the Stamford Bridge faithful.

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Many argue his poor creative abilities, lack of pace and vulnerability to the odd lapse in concentration make him a liability in midfield.

His innate flaws have seen Mikel struggle to tie down a permanent starting role in nearly ten years at the club and, thanks to the presence of Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Ramires, Deco and Claude Makelele, his first-team prospects have been under constant threat since day one.

Conversely, others feel the powerful anchor man is one of few Chelsea players who gives his all on the pitch - a telling asset in a dressing room widely criticised for being full of apathetic, money-driven individuals.

While he played just 693 minutes in the Blues’ Premier League triumph last campaign, the Nigerian has become a regular fixture in defensive midfield since the arrival of interim boss Guus Hiddink and proved he is still capable of making a valuable contribution.

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Although the reigning champions have looked uncharacteristically leaky at the back this campaign, Mikel has played a full 90 minutes in four of the five matches in which Chelsea have kept a clean sheet since the Dutchman’s arrival in December.

Mikel will likely contend with Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and Fabregas for the armband next season should the club follow through with their decision to let Terry go this summer.

Chelsea fans might prefer a world-class signing to lead the Blues on a permanent basis next season, but the experienced international is certainly worth considering given his extensive service to the club and status in the Nigerian national team.

Is Mikel worthy of the Chelsea captaincy? Give your opinion in the comment box below!

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Topics:
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