Former Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel, has named Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as the most difficult player he ever faced in his football career.
Mikel played against Gerrard on multiple occasions during their time at Chelsea and Liverpool, respectively.
The former Super Eagles captain said that Gerrard, who is currently the manager of Aston Villa, is too strong and quick.
Asked to name the most difficult player he ever faced in his career, Mikel Obi told Nigerian station Naija FM 102.7 in Lagos: “The most difficult player I faced during my Chelsea career is Steven Gerrard.
“He is too quick and strong. I have never seen a white player who is so strong, quick, and fast.
“He is good on the ball,” the former Nigerian international added.
Mikel recorded 372 appearances in all competitions during a ten-and-a-half-year stint at Chelsea.
The 35-year-old had played for Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Stoke City, Trabzonspor, Tianjin Jinmen Tiger and Kuwait Sporting Club in the past.
Why I Joined Nottingham Forest – Taiwo Awoniyi
Super Eagles forward, Taiwo Awoniyi, has revealed why he joined Nottingham Forest in the English Premier League.
The striker recently completed a £17.5m move to The Reds ahead of the 2022/2023 premier league season.
Speaking with the Nottingham Forest press on his transfer, the forward explained that his decision was influenced by the team’s coach, Steven Cooper.
“What stood out about Forest were the meetings with the Head Coach and the discussions we had. I can see how ambitious and dedicated he is to his job,” the striker said.
On how he feels about joining the newly promoted premier league side, “I feel great,” Awoniyi said. “I feel very happy to be here. Looking at the project, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“What stood out about Forest were the meetings with the Head Coach and the discussions we had. I can see how ambitious and dedicated he is to his job.
“My dream is to always keep working and I see him as a person who I can develop under.
“For me, it’s always about hard work, dedication and believing in God. When I look back at the games with Union Berlin, it was always about the team for me.
“When I look at Forest and look at the history of the club, it’s even more about the team. This is the kind of place I love to belong to and I am ready for it.
“Every striker wants to score goals, but I’m ready to work for the team, to fight for every ball, to win every challenge, that’s my style and that’s what I’m here for.”
JUST IN: Nigeria Beat Burkina Faso 2-1 To Win WAFU B U-17 Championship
Few weeks after claiming the WAFU B U-20 Championship, Nigeria again won the U-17 title in the region, as five-time world champions Golden Eaglets edged the Young Stallions of Burkina Faso 2-1 in Saturday’s final at the Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana.
Forward Abubakar Abdullahi had threatened the Burkinabe rear as early as the 8th minute when his low drive streamed away from goal, but in the 22nd minute, he rose highest in the box to powerfully nod Emmanuel Michael’s perfect delivery into the net for Nigeria’s first goal.
In the 34th minute, Abdullahi missed a golden opportunity to make it two for himself and for Nigeria, but he flulled his lines, allowing the Stallions a respite.
The miss would knock hard seven minutes later, when Abdulramane Ouedraogo, also with a header, equalized for Burkina Faso.
Two minutes into the second half, Abdullahi got his second and Nigeria’s second, taking the Golden Eaglets to a 2-1 lead. However, 12 minutes later, he should have made it a hat-trick and Nigeria’s third but he lost the opportunity.
That loss could once more have proved costly, as the Stallions broke forward, only to see Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh come up with a magnificent save.
READ ALSO: Rooney Quits As Derby Manager
In the 67th minute, Ebube Okeke rocked the crossbar from 25 yards, but there were to be no more goals and Nigeria collected a second regional diadem at youth level five weeks after the U20 boys defeated neighbours Benin Republic in the final to win the WAFU B competition in Niger Republic.
Nigeria goalkeeper Richard Odoh was selected the Man-of-the-Match. His compatriot Emmanuel Michael won the prize in all three previous matches against Ghana, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire.
Rooney Quits As Derby Manager
Former Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney has resigned as manager of troubled Derby as the club prepare for their first season in the third tier for 36 years.
Rooney was unable to keep Derby in the Championship last season after the crisis-torn club were hit by a 21-point deduction as punishment for financial issues.
In his first managerial role, Rooney impressively kept Derby in contention to avoid relegation into the final weeks of the season.
That valiant effort had suggested the 36-year-old would be able to lead Derby to promotion from League One next season.
But with Derby remaining in administration throughout a turbulent close-season, Rooney has opted to quit the Rams with the new campaign starting on July 30.
“Wayne Rooney has today informed Derby County Football Club that he wishes to be relieved of his duties as first team manager with immediate effect,” a club statement said.
Rooney, Manchester United and England’s all-time leading scorer, took charge at Derby in 2020 and had a year to run on his contract.
The former England captain was linked with an emotional return to Everton as manager last season after earning widespread praise for his work at Derby.
“Over the course of the summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” he said.
“Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up.
“My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge.”
Fears over Derby’s future increased last week when American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his offer to buy the club.
But the sale of Pride Park to a local property developer David Clowes, who hopes to complete a takeover, has eased concerns that the club could go bust.
Regardless of the potential for new ownership, Rooney felt Derby would benefit from the new energy of a manager not worn down by the relentless negativity surrounding the club.
“Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last 18 months,” he said.
“I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support.
“I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.”
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