Nigeria: Mikel - Greatest Nigerian to Play in EPL - Nwosu

9 April 2020

Former Nigeria international Henry Nwosu has picked John Obi Mikel as the greatest Nigerian player in the Premier League ever.

The midfielder joined Chelsea in the summer of 2006 after the Blues resolved their transfer dispute with rivals Manchester United, who had previously announced the signing of the then 18-year-old.

Since making his debut for the Blues under Jose Mourinho, Mikel went on to spend 11 years with the side, winning the Champions League, Europa League, two Premier League titles, three FA Cup trophies, one League Cup and Community Shield diadem.

"Mikel is ahead of them. He was consistent during his time. He performed so well for Chelsea," the former Super Eagles midfielder told Goal.

"He is a team player and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the Premier League considering his achievements. He won many trophies."

Nwankwo Kanu is another notable Nigerian who played in the English top-flight. The lanky forward arrived in England in 1993 joining Arsenal from Inter Milan.

He spent three years with the Gunners, helping the side to win two Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies and one Community Shield.

Kanu left the Emirates Stadium to team up with West Bromwich Albion before joining Portsmouth, where he won the FA Cup.

"Kanu did not perform as well as Mikel. We are not talking about individual play here but Kanu did his best," he added.

Okocha, meanwhile, featured for Bolton Wanderers and spent four years with the club after arriving from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and played a key role to help them keep their Premier League status throughout his stay.

Another amiable Nigerian player to grace the English top division is Celestine Babayaro. The full-back featured for Chelsea and Newcastle United and won the FA Cup, Uefa Cup Winner's Cup and Uefa Super Cup with the Blues.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni, meanwhile, played for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers, scoring a number of goals.

"Yakubu, Osaze and Babayaro did their best for their clubs but a tree cannot make a forest. Their performances cannot be compared with Mikel's," he noted.

"Okocha is also an individual player. He excited fans with his skills during his time. He is also a good player."

Nwosu spent his career in Africa, playing for New Nigeria Bank, African Continental Bank of Lagos, ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast and Racing Bafoussam of Cameroon.

He had 60 caps for the Super Eagles, scoring eight goals and was a member of the Nigeria squad that won the 1980 Africa Cup of Nations. He also played at the 1982, 1984 and 1988 Afcon tournaments.

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