Afcon 2019 EXCLUSIVE: Mikel is my role model - Nigeria wonderkid Samuel Chukwueze

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Kabiru Abubakar
The Villarreal youngster admits he looks up to the Super Eagles captain and counts his current team-mate as one of his idols

Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze has revealed why he regards Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel as a "role model".

The highly-rated forward enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019, as he sealed his place in Villarreal’s first team and also made the country's Africa Cup of Nations squad.

The 20-year-old, who has been compared to Arjen Robben due to his dribbling skills, made his Afcon debut against Burundi before making a cameo appearance against Guinea after replacing Alex Iwobi.

He could not be in better company, though, with the youngster admitting that he considers former Chelsea star Mikel to be ideal role model.

“All the players have been good to me but the one who stands out is [John Obi] Mikel,” Chuwkwueze told Goal.

“He always tells me to always be focused and concentrate on my game because I’m still growing up. To him, hard work is the easiest way to greatness.”

Obi Mikel, Chuwukwueze, Osimhen

If Chukwueze gets close to achieving what Mikel has done in his career then he will undoubtedly have fulfilled the potential he is showing at present.

However, the less-pressured lad is still savouring his achievement of making his Afcon bow, while revealing his Egypt ambition with the three-time Africa champions.

“Playing in the Africa Cup of Nations is huge for me and a dream come true. I’ve been hoping to play in this competition as a kid and I’m so happy it’s coming at this time,” he continued.

“The technical crew has been kind to me too. They keep encouraging me to do more and better because they believe in my ability.

“There is no pressure at all because I play week in week out for my club before a huge crowd, so playing among the big boys is what I am used to.

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“We have everything to win the trophy and with luck on our side, we will achieve that with everyone playing his own part.”

Gernot Rohr’s men are through to the Round of 16 with a game to spare. They face Madagascar in their last Group B encounter with the Super Eagles chasing their 47th win in the history of the competition.

 

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