Mikel, currently the most capped player in the Super Eagles, 78, hinted this current crop is the youngest he has ever played in.
Having registered his start aged 20, Mikel said he was the youngest player in the team with the likes of Kanu Nwakwo and Joseph Yobo leading the side a decade ago.
“I think we have a good team here, a young side, I think this is the youngest (Senior) team I have played in. Yes I was probably the youngest when I joined but we had the likes of Kanu, Yobo, Jay Jay all approaching the end of their careers when I joined.”
“Now, I have so many young players who are hungry, hungry to play, hungry to be in their first World Cup. I think 90% of the team will be playing in their first World Cup [in Russia]if we manage to get there,”
“And I’m still hungry, I want to be there, I want to lead the team.
“I think the World Cup we had last time wasn’t the best, so, we want to be there, we are playing well and if we manage to get there [the World Cup]we will play the same way and hopefully we can have a better World Cup.
While speaking with the media after the Super Eagles’ 1-1 draw with Cameroon, he began by quashing rumors he is considering retiring from international football anytime soon.
“I still have long way to go, I still want to play till God knows when, but for now, I am not thinking of retirement or anything else.”
The former Chelsea defensive shield man further added that, “I am 30 years old, I feel even younger than ever. I just came out from a very bad injury which had kept me out for 5 months and right now I am just focused on finding my way back into the field of play. Fitness-wise it has been very challenging, hopefully, I will get there soon.”
The draw in Cameroon means the Super Eagles will have to wait till Match Day 5 when they host the Chipololpolo of Zambia in Uyo to seal their qualification to Russia.