Stoke City manager, Michael O’Neill, has showered praises on the club’s new buy, John Obi Mikel, following the player’s display at the weekend.
The 33-year-old slotted into the midfield holding role for a 0-0 draw at Millwall, who could only force one shot on target.
He had an 87 per cent pass completion rate as he did his job starting counter attacks as well as shielding in front of the back three.
There were a couple of rusty moments too, understandable considering this was his first match since leaving Trabzonspor back in March, but the overwhelming takeaway was how influential he could be in that key role.
O’Neill said: “John needs more football, clearly. He’s come in but hasn’t played any football since March. We got 45 minutes into, a bit more against Leeds and he got 70 against Newcastle. Game by game he’ll get stronger.
“I think he gives us a real presence in there, he’s got brilliant game knowledge and it will help Sam Clucas and Nick Powell, make them more offensive. In that system it’s really important that the two 8s give you that forward thrust as well.”