Super Eagles’ skipper, John Mikel Obi, has said he will continue to work hard in order to win back his place at Chelsea.
Obi has not played a single minute of football for Chelsea this season after being frozen out by the Blues’ new Italian manager, Antonio Conte.
Chelsea’s second longest-serving player behind captain John Terry, Obi went off to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics this summer, inspiring Nigeria to third place.
Obi is unwavering in his stance that he would not swap his Olympic bronze medal for a place in Conte’s team and believes his 47-year-old boss may be punishing him for his absence in the early stages of the campaign.
The 29-year-old said: “I have never been a guy who makes excuses in life and never shy away from responsibilities.
“Yes, maybe people will say the new manager was upset I left and went to the Olympics; that I didn’t have a pre-season with the team.
“He probably thinks I don’t care about the team, things like that.
“But I don’t want to use those excuses. I have to keep training hard and make sure I change the manager’s mind. If not, then we’ll see what happens in January.
“But, no, I would never swap my Olympic medal for a place back in the Chelsea team.”
The defensive midfielder, who played 33 times for Chelsea in all competitions in the 2015-2016 season, helped the Super Eagles to a 3-1 home win over World Cup qualification opponents, Algeria, at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Saturday.