John Obi Mikel has revealed how Michael Essien helped him at Chelsea.
Mikel joined the Blues from Norwegian side Lyn in 2006 and went on to make 249 Premier League appearances for the London club.
Speaking to the Athletic, the 34-year-old said Essien is the one who helped him to adapt to life in England.
“Suddenly, I was sharing a dressing room with all these players I had watched on television back in Africa.
“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 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 can not catch you.
“He was the guy who really helped me and made me have a lot of confidence.”
He concluded by explaining how he had a dilemma of choosing between Chelsea and Manchester United who also had strong interest in his signature.
“They were speaking to me every day saying, ‘Sign for United, sign for United’, and there was the contract in front of me.
“But Chelsea made it clear they weren’t going to give up. They wanted me back.
“I had been sent by Chelsea to play there because I was not 18. I was from Africa and needed to play a certain amount of games (to get a permit).”
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By FARPost Reporter