In from Ripples Nigeria
Super Eagles midfielder John Obi Mikel on Tuesday made a startling revelation about his first day at Chelsea, saying he was intimidated by the presence of top stars such as Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, Geremi, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Chelsea official magazine to celebrate his ten years of active football with the London club, Mikel said his first outing at the Cobham training ground as a 19-year-old boy is still fresh in his memory.
“I came into the dressing room that day literally shaking,’ he recalls. ‘I saw the players that were in there – the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Claude Makelele, Geremi, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko – it was crazy.
“And I was just 19; I was shaking the whole day because I couldn’t talk to any of them. I didn’t know what to say to guys like that. They were really nice guys, but it was scary. It can be tough coming into a dressing room like that as a younger player. You had to earn the right to be among them,” he said.
The former Flying Eagles star added that playing as a defensive player has helped in improving his game.
“I love doing my defensive duties, but at the same time I love having the ball and always trying to be available so we can play out from the back,” he said.
“This is something we’ve talked about, something the manager has stressed – trying to play out from the back so we can always be in control of the game. I think doing this we have much more possession of the ball. I like having the ball and making the team play. When I was young, my natural position wasn’t as a defensive midfielder so maybe that gives me a bit of an edge.”
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