Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has hinted that he’s ready to recall John Obi Mikel to his squad and hopes the midfielder can lead the Super Eagles to Africa Cup of Nations glory in Egypt later in the year.
The 31-year-old has not featured for Nigeria since last year’s World Cup, where he played all of Nigeria’s matches.
His long absence from the Nigeria side scene has led to speculations that he was considering his international retirement.
In September last year, Mikel, who has won 85 international caps, asked to be excused from the AFCON qualifier with Seychelles.
Last month, the midfielder joined English Championship club Middlesbrough on loan from Chinese club Tianjin Teda for the remainder of the season.
Since making the move, he has made two league appearances — the second against Leeds, where he was described as “the best player on the pitch by a mile” by Boro coach Tony Pulis.
His brilliant form with the English club has caught the attention of Rohr, and that could trigger a recall ahead of the 2019 AFCON, which will kick off on June 21.
“We are happy to see our captain now playing for a big club. We hope to see him fit and playing regularly,” Rohr told footballlive.NG
“That’s what we want for all players. They should keep playing well with their teams and keep doing well.
“With Mikel playing in a tough league, maybe he can help Nigeria win the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.”
The former Chelsea player was a member of the Nigeria team that won the 2013 AFCON.