Former Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh has opined John Obi Mikel was not a good offensive player and cannot match Wilfred Ndidi defensively.
Both players played for the tactician in his brief stint in charge of the Super Eagles between 2015 and 2016.
Mikel has since retired while Ndidi is playing for Premier League side Leicester City.
Despite starting his career as an attacking midfielder, Mikel flourished as a defensive midfielder for Chelsea, but when in the national team, he played in a more advanced role.
Oliseh said as quoted by Pulse Sports:
He [Mikel] is a player who has done some good with Chelsea, but when you talk about playing as an offensive midfielder, he is not an offensive midfielder.
My man here knows I’m blunt to say certain things. Offensive midfielders have certain qualities, and he doesn’t have any of them. As regards a defensive midfielder, I think he is useful, but I won’t play him.
Oliseh, who played for Nigeria from 1993 to 2002, then went on to explain why he believes Ndidi is better defensively.
I will play Ndidi because a defensive midfielder’s work is, you have to win balls without making fouls, you have to be very good at aerial balls.
You have to have some control by helping others.
Mikel played for Nigeria from 2005 to 2019, making more than 91 appearances in the process.
Ndidi has been a regular for the West African nation since 2015, making 47 competitive appearances in the process.
However, the midfielder has been nursing a knee injury sustained after the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations held in Cameroon at the beginning of the year.
As a result, he missed the crucial 2022 World Cup qualifiers play-off against Ghana, where his team was eliminated on the away goal rule after a 1-1 draw over two legs.