Nigeria legend, Christian Chukwu has paid tribute to Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi as he celebrates his 29th birthday.
The Blues’ star who made his Super Eagles’ debut in 2006, began his international career for the country at the 2003 African U17 Cup of Nations in Swaziland where the Golden Eaglets finished third before featuring at the Fifa U17 World Cup same year.
He then progressed to the Nigeria U20 team where he played key role as Samson Siasia’s lads finished second at the 2005 Fifa U20 World Cup in Holland.
“There is no debate about his class which I attribute to discipline and dedication,” Chukwu told Goal.
“Mikel is committed to whatever he wants to do and that has helped him a big deal as a footballer.
“He is gifted, talented and he is one of the greatest midfielders ever to come out of the country.
“And for those who condemn him for not scoring goals, I would say the most important thing in football is playing to coaches’ instructions and not what people think the player should do.
“Mikel has been consistent for Chelsea because he is playing to his manager’s instruction. If not, he would have spent more time on the bench.
“And personally, I don’t feel that scoring goals should be a factor for becoming a great player.”
Chukwu is confident that the 29-year-old can continue playing at the highest level for many years to come while wishing him well on his birthday.
“For the national team, he has been doing his best and I believe he has years ahead of him in the Super Eagles. To be honest, he has paid his dues,” he continued.
“He has played; he has captained and has been a source of inspiration to many young players which is the very important. He has really done well.
“As he clocks another year on earth, I wish him long life and more fruitful playing days. He has been so blessed by God that he hasn’t recorded any serious injury in his career. Going by this, I also wish him an injury-free time till he hangs his boot,” he concluded.

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