Mikel offers Kakuta support
John Obi Mikel is confident team-mate Gael Kakuta can handle the controversy surrounding his early career.
Last Updated: 23/11/09 12:58pm
John Obi Mikel is confident Chelsea team-mate Gael Kakuta can handle the controversy surrounding his early career following the Frenchman's first-team debut.
Kakuta made his first appearance for Chelsea as a second-half substitute on Saturday and impressed in the 4-0 thrashing of Wolves.
The 18-year-old currently has a four-month suspension hanging over him as Chelsea wait for their appeal against a worldwide transfer ban to be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Mikel experienced his own turbulent period upon his arrival at Stamford Bridge, having initially appeared to have signed for rivals Manchester United.
The Nigerian midfielder has been impressed by Kakuta and believes the former Lens youngster is capable of emerging through this difficult period a stronger player.
"The senior players in the club have been supporting him," said Mikel.
"Everyone has been talking to him, putting arms around his shoulder and trying to make him feel comfortable.
"I spoke to him about it, he knew what happened to me and I told him to stay calm and try to work hard in training.
"My friends and people in the club were speaking to me and giving me assurance that everything was going to be alright, which took a bit of time, but when I started playing I was so relieved and happy and I think it is the same with Gael Kakuta.
"You could see in this game how hungry he is. He wants to show the fans what he has got and hopefully he has more chances to do it.
"There is a lot of pressure, but I just had to shut it out and concentrate and see what happened in the end. I think he will come through it because he is such a good player."
Mikel added: "He shows every day in training that he is a fantastic player.
"He still has to learn a lot, but you could see from this game what a fantastic player he is. In terms of skill, I think he is the best in the club.
"The sort of things he does in training comes naturally. He doesn't force it and when he has got the ball, he knows what to do."