FORMER Super Eagles skipper Mikel Obi has lost his battle to regain fitness ahead of tomorrow’s Carabao Cup match against English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and as a result will miss the game.
In August, Mikel joined English Championship side Stoke City after agreeing a one year contract with the club desperately seeking a return to the Premier League. Stoke City were relegated from the English Premier League at the end of the 2017/81 season and since then have struggled in their bid to gain promotion again.
Mikel, 33, joins on a free transfer having left Turkish side Trabzonspor by mutual consent in March over disagreements on how to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Very familiar with the English game, Mikel spent 11 years at Chelsea between 2006 and 2017 where he made 249 Premier League appearances, winning the Uefa Champions League, Europa Cup, two Premier League titles, three FA cups and the League Cup with the London side.
Since joining Stoke City, Mikel has been the backbone of the team but of late, he has been out of action since November 28 when he suffered a calf injury in the Potters’ 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday. Before his injury, he had featured in 15 games across all competitions, bagging an assist while captaining the team on a number of occasions.
Despite working hard in training in order to regain his full fitness Mikel will not be available for selection tomorrow. Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill, said that the former Super Eagles skipper suffered a minor setback in training last week as he continued to work on his recovery and as such will be ruled out of their next game.
Mr O’Neill added: “John won’t be fit in time for the game. It was a game he was very keen to be involved in but he had a little set back on Friday and we’ve just got to manage him over this week for the game on Saturday to see if he’s ready for that.”
Stoke City will face Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup quarter final tomorrow at the Britannia stadium. Against Premier league opposition, Stoke would have wanted Mikel’s experience on the pitch.