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Mikel gets backing

14 July 2014, 10:50

Lagos - Former Nigeria international Jonathan Akpoborie has leaped to the defence of John Obi Mikel following the midfielder's less than inspiring performances at the 2014 World Cup.

The Chelsea man, along with many of his compatriots, has had to endure plenty of flak from their home nation after the Super Eagles were dumped out of the Brazil showpiece after going down to France in the last 16.

Akpoborie, though, feels criticism directed at Mikel is unjust, and believes the uncertainty surrounding his Chelsea future played a big role in his lacklustre displays in South America.

Akpoborie, who represented Nigeria from 1995 to 2001, said: "I think his (Mikel's) lack of regular playing time for Chelsea last season may have contributed to his poor displays at the World Cup.

"He’s still one of our best players, but the inconsistency in his playing time at club level may have contributed a lot to this."

He continued: "I also think his future at Chelsea may be a contributing factor. Of course, he’s got a running contract, but the truth is he doesn't seem to be sure if he’s staying or not, so that can really unsettle a player."

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