Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr insists he’s not worried about lacking quality in midfield, with John Obi Mikel’s future up in the air, because he has three players in mind as replacements.
Speaking to the media (via AllAfrica), Rohr insisted that he’s not concerned about searching to a playmaker, as he believes he already has a few capable players at his disposal.
“I am not worried about it because we have a lot of players who can be natural playmakers,” Rohr told TV Continental. “You know we have players like Etebo who can be a playmaker, he can also be a good defensive midfielder.
“We have Alex Iwobi who played in this position and did very well in Johannesburg, we have Ahmed Musa who is coming in from the left side and can give good balls and score himself.
“You know that it is not necessary to have this position of number ten in modern football. Everybody must be able to make the play, to be a playmaker even the defensive midfielders or even the defenders have to give good balls and to construct the game.”
Iwobi has been doing a good job for Arsenal creatively this season, providing seven assists in 2018/19, the same number he managed in the entirety of the previous campaign. More than that, he’s been involved in the buildup to many other goals, even when he hasn’t ended up getting a direct goal contribution.
Nigeria certainly need someone to step up like that in Mikel’s absence, as the 31-year-old midfielder was a key part of the team for many years until last summer’s World Cup. He was the captain of the side, and only two players in the country’s history have made more appearances than him.
For Arsenal and Iwobi himself, it would be great to see the 22-year-old having a big impact and the trust of his manager on the international stage.