Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been named in Nigeria’s squad for the Olympic games.
The 29-year-old is one of manager Samson Siasia’s three permitted over age players, with the rest of the team being under-23.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Watford’s Odion Ighalo, and Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho were all stopped from being in the squad by their clubs, but the Blues clearly felt they could let Mikel go.
With the signing of N’Golo Kante from Leicester City, coach Antonio Conte isn’t as in need of a central midfielder – even though the Nigerian made 25 Premier League appearances last season.
Nigeria Olympic football squad
GK: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa FC, South Africa), Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers)DF: Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), William Troost-Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), Ndifreke Udo (Abia Warriors), Saturday Erimuya (Kayseri Erciyespor, Turkey), Abdullahi Shehu (CF Uniao, Portugal), Muenfuh Sincere (Rhapsody FC), Stanley Amuzie (Olhanense FC, Portugal)
MF: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Okechukwu Azubuike (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Usman Muhammed (CF Uniao, Portugal), Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense FC, Portugal), Sodiq Saliu (Seraing FC, Belgium)
FW: Aminu Umar (Osmalispor, Turkey), Imoh Ezekiel (Al Arabi, Qatar), Sadiq Umar (AS Roma, Italy), Junior Ajayi (CS Sfaxien, Tunisia)
The tournament runs from August 3rd until 20th, and means that Mikel will likely miss the first two Premier League matches of the season against West Ham and Watford. He could also possibly miss the League Cup second round on August 22.