Former Super Eagles skipper, John Obi Mikel, scored on his debut for Stoke City on Tuesday as the Potters overpowered Shrewsbury 5-1 in a friendly match that was played behind closed doors.
The former Trabzonspor midfield enforcer was a delight to watch in Stoke City training prior to Tuesday’s match and his sacrifice and effort to return to full fitness did not go unnoticed by manager Michael O’Neil.
“John’s been great in his first few days. You can see his quality, there’s no doubt, and people in the group see his quality,” the manager said.
“He has to get up to speed. He worked very hard on Saturday morning (when we had a game in the afternoon), as did Steven Fletcher and Ryan Shawcross.
“I think when you bring a player of that quality in it’s going to improve you and that’s what we’re always looking to do, looking to improve the squad, improve the quality in the squad and John does that,” he told Stoke Sentinel.
Mikel arrived at Stoke last week as free agent armed with 540 appearances for both club and country and a basket full of medals and trophies.
O’Neil hopes the former Chelsea man will help steady the ship and propel Potters back to the Premier League next season.
Stoke finished the 2019-20 Championship season in 15th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Mikel, 33, retired from international duty in July 2019 after he led Nigeria to clinch bronze at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
While at Chelsea for over a decade, the former Nigeria international helped the Blues to win the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, League Cup and Charity Shield.