Mikel - I couldn't risk knee
John Obi Mikel admits he did not want to risk his knee injury after being ruled out of the World Cup.
Last Updated: 05/06/10 7:23pm
John Obi Mikel admits he did not want to risk his knee injury after being ruled out of Nigeria's World Cup campaign.
The Chelsea midfielder was scratched from Lars Lagerback's 23-man squad for the tournament in South Africa on Saturday after failing to recover fully from a recent knee operation.
He missed the end of Chelsea's successful season after undergoing surgery, but was hoping to be fit to take his place in Nigeria's World Cup squad.
However, despite training fully with his team-mates on Friday, Mikel has confirmed he is not in a position to play in the World Cup finals.
Mikel told www.kickoff.com: "It is the same knee and I did not want to risk any further damage, also I think it is in the best interest of the team for me to withdraw rather than waste a slot.
"I wish the team good luck and I know that they will surprise people."
Nigeria coach Lagerback has acted immediately to replace Mikel by drafting uncapped Sochaux midfielder Brown Ideye into his squad.
The 21-year-old was one of the unlucky seven players to be dropped from the squad earlier this week when the Swede trimmed his list to 23.
The Nigerians wrap up their preparations for the finals with a friendly against North Korea in Johannesburg on Sunday.
After their opening Group B match against Argentina next Saturday in Johannesburg, Lagerback's team face Greece in Bloemfontein on 17th June before wrapping up their group matches with a match against South Korea in Durban five days later.