Super Eagles technical adviser , Gernot Rohr says the search for John Mikel Obi‘s replacement will begin immediately following the player‘s retirement from national team duties.
Mikel announced his retirement from the Super Eagles on Thursday,after the team finished third in the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt, the same country he made his Afcon debut back in 2006.
While speaking on the departure and possible replacement for the 32 -year– old Trabzonspor of turkey midfielder, Rohr tipped Semi Ajayi as ideal replacement, but insists that , the position is open for young players who are playing regularly for their clubs.
“First, I think we have to thank this great player for his successful career and also what he has done for Nigeria. He didn’t participate in the qualifiers, but he agreed to come and play his role as captain here. It was good to have him around even though he didn’t play many games, ” Rohr said.
“We have to search for new midfielders now. We have Semi Ajayi who was part of our initial 25 man list for this competition but didn’t make the final 23. He could come and play in defensive midfield. There are other young players, but it all depends on what they are doing in their clubs.”
Rohr added: “We don’t have players in Champions League clubs. We have some good players playing in second division in Germany and England. We only have two playing in England regularly, but Alex Iwobi is not all the time starting player at Arsenal, and Ndidi, yes in Leicester but it’s not a very big club.
“So I think we have to work hard to find the players who can replace Obi Mikel or the other ones we have in the team now.” He concluded.
Mikel earned 88 caps for Nigeria, notched six goals and 12 assists in the process and was part of the African Cup Nations winning team in 2013.