Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel has admitted he will respect the decision of manager Antonio Conte if he continues to leave him out of the team and offload him in the next transfer window.
The Nigerian however hopes to play a part in Wednesday’s English League cup clash against West Ham at the Olympic Stadium London.
The Super Eagles skipper, who is Chelsea’s longest serving player after Captain John Terry has lost his place in the starting eleven following the arrival of new manager Conte in the summer.
The 29-year-old has not featured for the team this season and is down in the pecking orders following the arrival of Frenchman N’Golo Kante from Leicester and Conte’s preference to use Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Nathaniel Chalobah and Reuben Loftus-Cheek in midfield.
Mikel did not start this campaign with the Blues as he was away on international duty with Nigeria at the Olympic Games in Brazil.
“I hope I will get some playing time against West Ham [in the EFL Cup], but it is down to the manager,” Mikel told journalists.
“He has been open and honest with me. I respect him for that. He has explained the situation and I totally understand. When you have been at a club for a long time, these things happen where a club wants to move forward.
“I just have to be professional, work as hard as I can to try and get into the team. I work twice as hard every day and it’s because I appreciate this club. I have been here a long time, have a lot of trophies and memories that will never go away. If I don’t get back in the side, I will respect it. I always respect the football club’s decision. The club is more important than me.”
It will be recalled that the Nigerian midfielder, earlier in the month, reportedly said he hopes to quit Chelsea and join another club in the winter in search of regular playing time, as he hopes to build his form and help Nigeria secure a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Slaven Bilic’s West Ham host Chelsea in the EFL Cup at London Stadium on Wednesday evening.