John Obi Mikel turned down a chance to return to the Nigeria team to focus on Middlesbrough’s play-off push.
The impressive anchorman has spent the international break recharging his Boro batteries ready for Championship action to resume.
He is fully focused on Saturday’s clash with Norwich and the promotion run-in beyond that.
And that is why he declined an approach to play in last week’s Super Eagles games against Seychelles and Egypt.
Former Chelsea man Mikel, 31, is the superstar of Nigerian football but has not played for the national team since last summer’s World Cup in Russia.
German coach Gernot Rohr insists that multi-medalled Mikel is still very much part of his plans but revealed the midfielder had opted for club over country in the latest round of fixtures.
Rohr said: “He has so many games in Middlesbrough to look forward to, they are fighting for the play-offs too.
“He told me it is not the moment to return but if Obi Mikel is very fit again and has the motivation, then the door is open.
“I am not like Joachim Low who announced that three of his players are definitely out of the German national team, I never say that because you never know what can happen.
“We are watching and will see if he can come back. We also need experience in our team, we have so many young players.”