Mikel Obi’s Training Delights Stoke City Manager

Mikel Obi’s Training Delights Stoke City Manager

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neil says club’s acquisition, John Mikel Obi is already showing his quality in training

Mikel linked up with the Potters as a free agent last week turning down offers from Russia and clubs in England.

The Nigeria midfielder has not played since mid-March when he left a Trabzonspor team he had been leading in a charge for the Turkish title.

The manager said: “John’s been great in his first few days. You can see his quality, there’s no doubt, people in the group see his quality.

The 33-year-old midfielder arrives with 540 senior games on his CV for club and country and a host of winner’s medals and trophies and it is hoped he can coax more out of those around him as Michael O’Neill tries to get the best out of his squad.

“He has to get up to speed. He worked very hard on Saturday morning (when we had a game in the afternoon), as did Steven Fletcher and Ryan Shawcross.

“I think when you bring a player of that quality in it’s going to improve you and that’s what we’re always looking to do, looking to improve the squad, improve the quality in the squad and John does that.”

The former Chelsea star is one of four free agents to arrive so far and Stoke have had to fight hard for their signatures, not least in the case of Mikel who had lucrative offers on the table from Russia and Brazil.

“When players of that nature become available it’s difficult,” said O’Neill. “They have a lot of options.

“John had a lot of options, particularly abroad I think, so it’s a real positive we have him here at Stoke.

“I can’t expect too much too soon from him either. He hasn’t played since March and his time at Trabzonspor so it’s going to take a little bit of time for him – but it’s evident already we’ve seen his quality in training.

“That’s a position, I think, where we need a bit of help to build the game in our own half.”

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