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EXCLUSIVE: Adepoju on Mikel's Super Eagles legacy

1:41 am AEST 19/7/19
John Obi Mikel
The midfielder called time on his Nigeria career after helping the team win bronze in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt

Former Nigeria international Mutiu Adepoju has heaped praise on John Obi Mikel who retired from Super Eagles duty on Thursday.

The 32-year-old announced his retirement a day after the three-time African champions secured their eighth bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mikel, who made his Super Eagles debut against Libya in August 2005, went on to feature 88 times for Nigeria, including his last outing against Madagascar in the group stage of the biennial tournament.

Adepoju, who had 48 caps and scored six goals for the Super Eagles, has lauded the Trabzonspor player.

“I want to congratulate and commend him for what he has done for the country,” Adepoju told Goal.

“Sometimes when you feel you have done your best and feel it is the right time for you to leave, then you have to leave. Nobody stays in a place forever.

“Overall he has done very well. He has represented the country very well. I wish him all the best.”

Adepoju is confident the present Super Eagles have enough young players who can take over from the midfielder, with the likes of Alex Iwobi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Semi Ajayi in position to fill the void.

“I believe we have younger players who can take over from Mikel and continue the good work,” he added.

“Many of them have experiences after playing in the World Cup and coming third in the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

“Experiences are not born with, we gain experiences from the job, so I feel we have players who can continue from where he stopped.”

During his time with Nigeria, Mikel featured in two World Cup tournaments, four Africa Cup of Nations, winning the 2013 continental title and a bronze medal in 2019.