By Patrick Akoto
Ex-Nigerian coach Christian Chukwu says he will not sleep over choosing Michael Essien over Mikel Obi on any day.
The 29-year-old, on loan from Chelsea, impressed heavily on his Real Madrid during their thrilling Uefa Champions League 3-2 win over Manchester City on Tuesday.
The Ghanaian international fell off the pecking order at the European champions where he was restricted to the substitute bench at the start of the season until Jose Mourinho offered his former apprentice an escape route.
But the former Heartland trainer says he will pick the former Lyon man over his compatriots on any day.
"We watch all these players everyday and I would say that Essien is a more powerful defensive midfielder."Chukwu told Sunyani-based Storm FM
"Mikel is also in that same group and so a coach may choose to play the two of them at the same time.
â€œBut to me, Essien should always play if he is fit even though he is older than Obi.
â€œFor me Christian Chukwu, I think I would always go forÂ Michael Essien if he's fit ahead of Obi because he is one of the best powerful midfielders in the world if not the best.
â€œBut well, that is what Chelsea wants and so decided to choose Mikle over him.
â€œIt is difficult to say but it all depends on the decision of the coach, like who he wants to play and that sort of thing but trust me Essien in his element is streets ahead of Mikel.â€
Chukwu captained the Super Eagles to win their first African Cup of Nations title in 1980 and coached them to reach the semi-finals of the continental showpiece in 2004.