Former Nigeria international and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has lauded Michael Essien on his impact in his career during his early days at Chelsea.
According to Mikel, he was initially feeling jittery when he arrived but Essien helped him to settle down.
The duo were an integral member of Jose Mourinho’s squad that won the Premier League in 2006 and went on to win several other top trophies.
The Nigerian, unlike Essien, spent eleven years at the Stamford Bridge and played 249 Premier League games , scoring a goal and providing ten assists
“Suddenly, I was sharing a dressing room with all these players I had watched on television back in Africa,” Mikel told The Athletic.
“I was sitting next to Lassana Diarra. I’d be there thinking, ‘Oh my God, it’s Didier Drogba. It’s Frank Lampard. It’s John Terry’.
“Michael Essien (who joined from Lyon in the summer of 2005) really helped me. Michael always told me I was a good player and just reminded me to bring the ball down, control and pass.
“If you need to dribble, dribble. If you don’t need to, just pass. You are strong. You are fast, too. If you can, just push the ball past and run, run, run because they cannot catch you.
‘”He was the guy who really helped me and made me have a lot of confidence,” he added.