Mikel has revealed that he asked compatriot, Victor Moses not to leave Chelsea on loan to Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham. But concedes he has learnt a lot in his time away.
The Nigeria international never listened to Mikel and went in search of regular play time. However, Antonio Conte has made use of him regularly this season.
The 25-year-old winger has appeared in all of the Blues’ first seven matches this term, but Mikel believes that he could have forced his way into the team much sooner.
“I always told him: ‘Where are you going?’ every time he goes away,” Mikel told Goal. “‘Where are you going? I mean, you always go out on loan, but why? Stay here and fight, you are a very good player, a young player. You are quick, you are strong, you are fast, you can dribble, where are you going? Why are you always running away from this football club?’
“Every time I talk to him, he says he wants to play football and I think he has found a manager who will give him time, who believes he has got a lot to offer the team. I think he is ready to take up that challenge as well. I think it is the right time for Vic to be here.
“I think, if he was here another time, I don’t think he would have made it, but I think that this is the right time for him.”
Mikel believes that Conte has drawn a previously unseen work ethic out of his fellow Nigerian and expects Moses to get even better over the campaign.
“He looks to me a changed player, a player who wants to be here,” the midfielder added. “He wants to work hard in training because before that has been the big problem with Victor – he doesn’t train well and then the managers don’t want to play him.
“I think Vic is a totally changed player. He trains well and you can see that. In the games, when he plays, he plays really well. Vic is going to have a very, very good season this season. So I wish him well.”