Player Profile – John Obi Mikel

DOB: 22 April 1987
Age: 24
Place of birth: Jos
Nationality: Nigeria
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 12
Nicknames: Commonly known as Mikel John Obi, John Obi Mikel or John Mikel Obi. 
Mikel lives in Surrey, UK.
Early Days
Mikel was born in Jos, Nigeria as John Michael Nchekwube Obinna, the son of Michael Obi, who runs an inter-state transport company in Jos, the capital of Plateau state. As his father was a member of the Igbo ethnic group, ”Nchekwube” means “hope” and “Obi” is a nickname for the Igbo name “Obinna” (meaning “Father´s heart“).
He started his official football career at the age of 12 when picked as a talented footballer from over 3000 young talents to play in Pepsi Football Academy. A team which at that particular time was well known for going around Nigeria to search for the best there is from all the upcoming future stars, young talents to later move on to rather more professional football.
John’s Chelsea career, started following quickly on from the purchase of Salomon Kalou in the summer of 2006, the arrival of Mikel confirmed Chelsea’s determination to add exciting young talent as well as established stars to a squad that had just won back-to-back league titles.
Awards/Key Moments:
Named Chelsea Young Player of the Year, John survived an injury scare the week before the 2007 FA Cup Final to play the whole game. Chelsea beat Manchester United in the first final at the new Wembley.
In the summer of 2005, Mikel played for Nigeria at the FIFA World Youth Championships held in the Netherlands. He had an excellent tournament until Nigeria reached the final.
African Young Player of the Year: 2005, 2006
Chelsea Young Player of the Year: 2007, 2008
Premier League: 2009–10
FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10
League Cup: 2006–07
FA Community Shield: 2009
Premier League Asia Trophy: 2011
Previous Clubs:
Lyn: 2005-2006
Chelsea: 2006-present
International Career
Mikel made his debut for Nigeria’s senior team on August 17, 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 friendly win over Libya. He did not play for the national team again prior to being named in the squad for the 2006 African Cup of Nations.
His fortunes took a turn for the worse over the next two years, getting suspended for not turning up to an international but then securing a place in Nigeria’s 2008 African Nations Cup squad after bridges were rebuilt.Nigeria were a surprise package, eventually losing to an Essien-less Ghana in the semi-finals. For Mikel there was an unfamiliar role of playmaker just behind the Nigeria strikers and he was their outstanding performer, scoring a goal and making an assist in one game. Injury ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup.
Quotes from Player
“I wouldn’t want to let the club down and if I didn’t play that game I think my mum would be very sad”
“It was really difficult. I said I would like to play the game, I didn’t want to let my team down, I didn’t want to let the club down … I just wanted to get on with it”
“The new manager has worked really hard on our sharpness and it is going very well.”
What the fans say…
“Talented,uncertain about his potentials”
“Strong, super passer, slow, Prodigy!”
“Underated and Class”
“Robust, combative, calm”
By Clare Smith
Twitter @Chelsea4Girls


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