John Obi Mikel played very well in the opener against Stoke today despite needing to take a pain killing injection prior to the contest just to be on the pitch. Apparently the ankle is a lesser concern to Mikel today, as he was apparently informed minutes before the match that his father is missing in Nigeria. Mikel's agent had this to say:
At the moment we have not heard from Mikel's father, or anyone else, so we don't know what it is. At this point, we only consider him missing. He us totally devastated. We were not sure whether to tell him before the game. But after speaking to the manager, and Mike Emenalo, we agreed that he had a right to be informed if such a serious incident. He was under a lot of stress, but he showed a lot of character and mental strength to play against Stoke.
The fact that Mikel even took the field today is amazing, and to perform at the level he did even more so. Frankly I'm extremely glad that AVB and Emenalo decided that he needed to be informed, as there are many mangers who probably would have waited until after the contest. I'm also quite surprised that Mikel insisted on playing, I don't think there are many players out there who would have done the same. At this point I hope Mikel takes whatever time he needs to return to Nigeria if that's what he feels he needs to do. Some things are just more important than a game against WBA, and this is certainly among them. Hopefully we'll hear something positive on this situation soon, and as soon as we do we'll make sure to pass it on.