The two Nigerian greats reached the peak of their careers when playing in the English Premier League for Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea
Chelsea midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu has confessed that he grew up admiring John Obi Mikel and Austin Okocha, Soccernet.ng reports.
Okocha was at Bolton Wanderers between 2002 and 2006, having arrived on a free transfer from Paris Saint Germain.
The gifted playmaker scored 14 Premier League goals in 124 games for Bolton and went on to be regarded as one of the greatest players in the club’s history.
Mikel arrived at Chelsea from Lyn Oslo the same year Okocha left Bolton and went on to make his mark at Stamford Bridge.
The former Super Eagles captain won two league titles and four FA Cup honours and lifted the Europa League in 2013.
However, Mikel’s greatest hour came in the final of the UEFA Champions League when he delivered a man-of-the-match display as Chelsea won the competition for the first time.
Ugochukwu, who has Nigerian roots, has revealed that he was inspired by Okocha and Mikel’s performances for Chelsea.
The former Stade Rennais lad told chelseafc.com: “Most of the time when I saw him on television was the period with Mourinho.
“It was a great period. He was such an important player for Chelsea. And when you come from Nigeria, the names of Jay-Jay Okocha and Obi Mikel always come out.
“As a midfielder, what Mikel did for Chelsea inspired me a lot. He was calm. He had composure. He had self-confidence. That’s very important for a midfielder, to give confidence to your team.
“He was strong without the ball, aggressive. That’s the kind of player I like. I want to have great achievements like he did.”
Ugochukwu, signed for €27 million from Rennes in August, has made nine appearances in the Premier League for Chelsea.