Former Chelsea player and the current skipper of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, John Mikel Obi has tipped the Three Lions of England as one of the genuine contenders for the World Cup in Russia.
Gareth Southgate’s men defeated the West African giants 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in their penultimate game before the World Cup.
England started on a bright note when they raced to a two-goal lead and looked like they will blow their opponents apart, thanks to goals from Gary Cahill and Harry Kane.
But they struggled to keep up with the pace after the break, with Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi pulling one back in the 47th minute for the Super Eagles to reduce the deficit.
The Three Lions held on for a win but were given the sticks by fans who felt the performance was below par particularly against a team ranked 47th in the world.
That result and performance may not have been outstanding especially for a team aiming for their first World Cup glory since 1966 when they last won as the host nation.
But former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, actually thinks that England have ‘an excellent chance’ of going all the way in Russia.
“I think they have a very good chance of going all the way because the youthfulness and energy in this team… you can feel it,” he said after the game.
“I think the pace in the team, you can feel it, and that is why we had some problems in the first half.
“In the second half, we corrected some mistakes and played a lot better. I think the England team have a good chance.”
Despite all the negativity from England fans, Southgate revealed he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I think we played really well with the ball especially, created a lot of good chances, far more good situations than we’ve had in recent games,” He told ITV, per FourFourTwo.
“We were deservedly a couple of goals to the good at half-time. In the period leading up to their goal, they changed their system and it took us a little while to figure out how to deal with that.
“What that did mean is that there was a little lift in the game that we had to cope with and manage, and that was a decent exercise for us to adjust to that.”