Former Chelsea star John Mikel Obi joined Middlesbrough from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda during the January transfer window and has been a force to be reckoned with in England’s second-tier.
Though Mikel joined the Championship team two months ago, the 31-year-old midfield enforcer has seamlessly adapted to Tony Pulis’s style of play and tactical approach to games.
Prior to Wednesday’s contest vs Preston North End, Mikel had lost just one game with Boro after making six straight appearances and his importance to the team can’t be overemphasized.
His hold-up play at the middle of the pitch is second to none, while his long-range passes have helped turn defense into attack on numerous occasions.
Mikel’s fitness level is no longer a source of concern for Pulis, therefore, the former West Brom manager can be rest assured he has a strong and physical player who will provide great shield for his back four.
The player’s experience is another reason why Middlesbrough must rely so much on him in their charge for promotion.
He has played over 500 career games, won several trophies during his time with Chelsea and lifted one AFCON trophy with Nigeria’s National team.
Mikel is presently the fans favorite, meaning he will play a massive role in ensuring that fans often turn out in large numbers to support the team in their race for promotion.
The more Mikel wows the fans with scintillating and match-winning displays, the higher the number of fans support which would motivate the players to win more matches.