Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Ekpo said Mikel Obi was played out of position because in his club, he is used as a defensive midfielder but in the national team, he is assigned the role of an attacking midfielder.
He said Obi started his career as an attacking midfielder but when he joined Chelsea, Jose Mourinho converted him to a ball holding midfielder, thereby reducing his creativity and attacking instinct.
Ekpo went on to say that even as his playing style and position has changed, most Nigerians still believe he is the playmaker he was meant to be.
The former Abiola Babes man said the blame for Mikel’s unsatisfactory performance should be blamed on the coaches who assigned the wrong role to the player.
“I have heard so many comments concerning Mikel Obi. Most of his critics are not fair to him. How do you expect a defensive midfielder to play as an attacking midfielder?. It cannot work effectively.
“In Chelsea, Mikel is used as a defensive midfielder but anytime he comes to play for the national team, he is used as a defensive midfielder.
“Mikel is not the playmaker we had in Jay Jay Okocha. The Eagles need a playmaker because Mikel is not one. He may be blamed but it is because most of his critics are yet to realise that he is not meant for the role that is wrongly assigned to him,” he said.
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