Manchester United legend Roy Keane was John Obi Mikel’s bodyguard when the young midfielder first went for trials at the Red Devils
JOHN OBI MIKEL has previously revealed that hard nut Roy Keane was his own personal bodyguard when he was just a schoolboy.
The Nigerian midfielder, 35, was involved in one of the biggest transfer tussles in football history when he sensationally rejected Manchester United for Premier League rivals Chelsea.
But when Sir Alex Ferguson invited Mikel to train at United after impressing for his country at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in 2003, the youngster was thrown in the deep end with the first-team.
During the month long-trail Mikel recalled the time no-nonsense Keane took him under his wing.
Speaking exclusively to SunSport, he said: “I trained with the first team. Roy Keane was my bodyguard.
“Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt always tried to kick me but couldn’t when Roy was there because he’d have killed them.
“Sir Alex called me Obi Wan (after the Star Wars character).
“He called me into his office one day and said: ‘Obi Wan, do you know what Keane, Scholes and all the senior players have told me? They said you have to sign that boy’.
“I couldn’t believe it. Here was I, a schoolkid from Africa, training with some of the best in the world.”
United thought they had signed the next sensation when Mikel put pen to paper at a hastily-arranged press conference in 2005 and was photographed in a United shirt.
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But following a series of secret meetings with Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich, Mikel eventually decided to join Chelsea… leaving Fergie furious.
Chelsea ended paying Manchester United £12million in compensation over the move.
But it proved the correct one as Mikel became one of the club’s most decorated players, winning the Champions League and Europa League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups in his 11 years there.
Mikel left Stamford Bridge in 2017 and headed to China with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger before a return to England for a six-month spell at Middlesbrough in January 2019.
He then joined Turkish side Trabzonspor for a season but came back to the Championship 12 months later to join Stoke City.
In July 2021 he then moved to Kuwait FC but his contract was terminated after just four months – leading to the star officially announcing his retirement from playing at the age of 35 in September 2022.
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