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
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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