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OPINION: Why Ndidi is the new Mikel in town

EPL By: Olakunle Brown | 16/03/2017

Ndidi, the future of the Super Eagles midfield

Wilfred Ndidi is a fresh breath to the Super Eagles of Nigeria and his emergence has got fans all excited about the prospect of the new national team under Gernot Rohr.

The 20-year-old has been exceptional for Leicester City since he joined in January and just on Tuesday in front of home fans at the King Power Stadium, the Nigerian helped the Foxes qualify for the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League.

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A remarkable feat by the team that rewrote Premier League history last season when they won the league title and playing in Europe for the first time – no one gave them a chance of progressing from the group phase or overcoming Cup kings, Sevilla in a two-leg fixture.

However, Ndidi and his teammates stood tall and did the impossible by reaching the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League on their first try and the former youth international made more ariel clearance (5) more than any other player on the pitch including giant teammates Wes Morgan and Robert Huth.

Great qualities

Ndidi is tireless and young. He was signed by Leicester City to replace the awesome N’Golo Kante who moved to Chelsea after helping the Foxes create history last season by winning the league title.

The Nigerian hasn’t done a bad job as he has warmed himself into the hearts of the passionate Leicester supporters.
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Ndidi celebrates with teammates

In the game against Sevilla, he showed all his qualities within 90 minutes and that’s a delight for any manager. The first half was very important for Leicester not to concede and keep possession away from the adventurous Spanish side.

That they did very well as Ndidi playing alongside Daniel Drinkwater controlled the midfield with simple passes and allowed their teammates settle into the game. The Nigerian won tackles with ease and frustrated the opponents and had Samir Nasri yellow carded for a frustrated kick-out on him.

The Frenchman eventually got a red card after an incident with Jamie Vardy in the second half but it was Ndidi that made it all easy and Leicester capitalised on it to see through a 2-0 win and qualified for the quarter-final.

Ndidi, a perfect heir for Mikel

Mikel Obi has done a fantastic job for the Super Eagles over the years and he is into the final stages of his career both for club and country. He recently moved to the Chinese Super League (CSL) after he failed to get a competitive game under the new manager at Chelsea, Antonio Conte.

The 29-year-old will not get the same intensity in Asia like he did in Europe playing in the Chelsea midfield but like a true professional, he will stay as fit as possible to help Nigeria reach the 2018 World Cup and perhaps retire after that tournament.

Ndidi will be a perfect heir to the Mikel role in the national team. He covers the pitch intelligently and can add goals from midfield with powerful long range shots and sometimes bullet headers.

Nigeria is blessed with talented midfielders like Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Oghenekaro Etebo, Alex Iwobi, and even Kelechi Iheanacho can fill in if required in midfield but Ndidi has shown tremendous growth in the last two seasons and playing the Mikel role in the Super Eagles will be a perfect fit for the young lad.

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