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Lawal to Nigerians: Don’t expect optimal performance from Mikel

Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi runs with the ball during the pre-World Cup international friendly with the Three Lions of England at the Wembley stadium

A former international, Garba Lawal has warned football loving Nigerians not to expect so much from the captain of the Super Eagles, John Mikel Obi who is returning to the team for the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

The Chelsea of England legend who has not played for the Super Eagles since after the 2018 FIFA World Cup is listed in the 25-man provisional team for the AFCON as announced on Tuesday by the Nigeria Football Federation.

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The former Roda JC of Holland player said Mikel was ‘fantastic’ for Middlesbrough in the just concluded season so bringing him to lead the Super Eagles to the 2019 AFCON is not a bad move.

“As I always say to you, it’s all about the manager and the player himself. If the manager feels the player will help the team and himself, it is fantastic for him to be in there.

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“And the manager has decided to call him up so it is okay. He has been fantastic for Boro so it’s good for him to be invited.

“Mikel is a good player no doubt about that. So it now depends on him. What he can offer to the team at the AFCON,” he said.

Lawal who represented Nigeria in four Africa Cup of Nations, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 told Daily Trust that Mikel will add value to the team but there shouldn’t be too much expectations.

“Age is no longer on his side again so we should not expect Mikel to go better than he was before now. He has seen it all. His experience will just count to guide the younger players.

“We can’t expect him to be what he was three or four years back. Nobody can cheat nature. Playing him alone is a plus because he can motivate and also coach the younger players on the field,” he noted.

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