Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel has admitted his short spell at English Championship club, Middlesbrough has not ended the way he would have liked, after the Tony Pulis’ side failed to earn a promotion playoff spot.
Mikel linked up with the Championship side as a free agent in January, penning short term contract with the club.
Boro were six points shy of top spot and with genuine ambitions of closing that gap at the time Mikel ijoined the club.
“What I expected was to be in the play-offs or automatic promotion,” Mikel told Northernecho.uk.
“It just wasn’t to be but the club, the players and the staff were exactly what I expected: good staff, good players, good human beings. I’ve had a lovely time here, it’s been amazing.
“I enjoyed the physicality, the fans right in front of you – the real English football. I missed that in China. Tony has given me the opportunity and I’ve enjoyed it.
“This (England) is where I want to be, I want to be closer to home, I want to be near my family, so we’ll see what happens. I have a few options here and there. You never know in football.”
In his league appearance, the Super Eagles captain helped Middlesbrough to a 3-2 win at promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion.
But Middlesbrough came up short, significantly affected by a run of six defeats in a row at exactly the wrong time, ending with Tony Pulis’ team missing out on a promotion play-off place.
Failing to secure promotion is more likely to prevent Mikel from joining on a full-time basis, with Premier League clubs known to be keen, but he has still enjoyed the Riverside experience.
The former Chelsea midfielder would not reveal the identity of the clubs interested, although he is known to have had interest from Crystal Palace and Brighton in January – and both are staying in the top-flight.
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