After seeing his Nigerian compatriot John Obi Mikel bag the game-settling third in Chelsea’s 3-1 Champions League group-stage win over Sporting Lisbon, Hull City winger Sone Aluko took to Twitter to declare how underappreciated the 27-year-old is.
The pair will be on opposing sides when the Blues host their east Yorkshire counterparts at Stamford Bridge next, a game the Premier League leaders are 57/100 to win both halves of.
With both finding minutes on the pitch hard to come by of late, Mikel may not get the chance to offer the former Rangers flier more first-hand insight into his talents, but the news.bwin.com/en/ scribes have seen enough to concur with Aluko’s sentiments.
It’s difficult to imagine Chelsea forking out £16m for an individual who had previously participated in just six senior games unless he was sufficiently talented, nor would they hang on to him for eight years otherwise.
Every season at Stamford Bridge has seen him make over 20 Premier League appearances, while in terms of honours he has a winner’s medal from every competition going hanging in his trophy cabinet.
Owing to the emergence of midfield gladiator Nemanja Matic – arguably the finest Premier League anchorman currently in operation – Mikel’s involvement has been more restricted than usual this term, but he has still managed to make positive contributions when called upon.
His ball retention skills make him the ideal player to unleash when attempting to defend a slender lead.
Across his eight top-tier outings so far (though only one was a start) the Nigerian boasts 93.1 per cent pass accuracy, attempting to pick out a colleague 23.5 times a game on average, one of which assisted a goal.
Such a tool will prove vital in high-pressure affairs at the season’s end.
Clearly more competent that given credit for, Chelsea have won 75 per cent of the matches he has started this term, while they were defeated in just four of the games Mikel began last time around.