Chelsea midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu has revealed his admiration for former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel in an interview with Le Parisien. The teenager answered questions about his transfer to Chelsea in the interview.
When asked about the decision to join Chelsea, the 19-year-old defensive midfielder revealed that it was a no-brainer for him immediately an offer came in.
“It’s Chelsea! You just need to look at all the trophies that they’ve won and the legends that have played there. When a club of that stature comes in for you, it is very difficult to refuse.”
Ugochukwu signed for the Blues from Rennes this summer for around €30 million after impressing in France. The France U-21 international was expected to join Strasbourg on loan but has proved his worth to manager Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea.
When asked who his favourite Chelsea players were, the youngster named a certain Mikel, who made the move to Chelsea at the same age 17 years ago. He also spoke of the former midfielder as his countryman, suggesting that he is open to representing Nigeria in the future.
“Didier Drogba, I immediately think of him. In my position, there is John-Obi Mikel, and he’s Nigerian as well. These are players that won the Champions League and who had great journeys with Chelsea.”
Ugochukwu has played three times for Chelsea in their first five games this season, and the youngster will be looking to make more contributions as the season progresses. It must be remembered that his uncle, Onyekachi Apam, played alongside Mikel at different age groups up to the Super Eagles.
The young midfielder relishes the competition for places at Chelsea and has already taken his first big step forward by displacing fellow 19-year-old Andrey Santos. The Brazilian had a head-start at Chelsea but once Ugochukwu arrived, the Blues decided to let him go on loan and accommodate Ugochukwu.
“It’s the start of a new cycle [at Chelsea], with new players and new ambitions. I was attracted by what they want to do and by what they see in me. It’s up to me to prove that I can have a place in the long term. I wanted to progress.”
The midfielder is also excited with the quality of midfielders at Chelsea and is certain that the competition for places will make him a better player.
“Personally, I have never been afraid of competition. I learn with very good players like Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo or Roméo Lavia who is the same age as me. It’s up to me to find, to grab the most minutes.”
Nigeria may find the long-term heir and possibly an upgrade to Wilfred Ndidi in Chelsea midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu.