"I want to have great achievements like he did" - Chelsea star admits he wants to emulate former Blue John Obi Mikel
Chelsea midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu has opened up on his childhood heroes in his position, all of whom previously played for the club. The French youngster was full of praise for ex-Blues star John Obi Mikel, who played for the club between 2006 and 2017.
Lesley Ugochukwu was a surprise signing for Chelsea when their pursuit of Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo appeared to have hit a snag. The teenage midfielder joined the team briefly in their pre-season camp in the USA, but did not take part in the final tune-up match against Borussia Dortmund.
John Obi Mikel enjoyed a long and successful career at Chelsea, winning multiple trophies and appearing 372 times for the Blues. The Nigerian midfielder was a key player for the club, featuring regularly in his 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
France U-21 midfielder Ugochukwu revealed in an exclusive interview with the club that he looks up to the retired Nigerian midfielder. With Nigerian roots himself, the 19-year-old hailed Mikel's impact and said he hopes to replicate it.
‘As a midfielder, what Mikel did for Chelsea inspired me a lot. He was calm. He had composure. He had self-confidence. That’s very important for a midfielder, to give confidence to your team. He was strong without the ball, aggressive. That’s the kind of player I like. I want to have great achievements like he did.’
Like Mikel, Ugochukwu is a defensive midfielder who has joined the club in his teens, and is looking to make a name for himself. The youngster has featured 12 times for the Blues across all competitions this season, quickly becoming a regular off the bench for Mauricio Pochettino's side.
Ugochukwu can hardly complain about his role at the club despite being used mostly off the bench. The midfielder was a prime candidate for a loan move back to France, and only in the last days before the season did he earn his place.
Chelsea squad keen to fulfill enormous potential
Chelsea have spent very heavily to assemble their squad, with their current owners spending around £1 billion since their arrival. Most of the money spent has been invested in young players under the age of 23.
The Blues spent £105 million on Enzo Fernandez in January before adding Moises Caicedo for around £115 million in the summer. They also signed Mykhailo Mudryk for around £80 million and Wesley Fofana for around £70 million.
Pochettino's side are currently in the bottom half of the standings after 13 rounds of matches, similar to where they finished last season. The squad is one that obviously has the potential to be an all-timer, but the players need to begin to perform steadily and win games.