Frank Lampard says fellow midfielder John Mikel Obi is underrated by outsiders, but valued by his Chelsea team-mates.

Critics of the Nigeria midfielder point to his uninspiring, simplistic style of football and question his contribution to the Chelsea team, but Lampard says the 25-year-old is given flak unfairly.

“He’s a brilliant player. I think he’s improved a lot over the last few years. He’s at a level now where he’s playing some great football,” Lampard told exclusively.

“Maybe the reason people say that is because he’s playing a position that is really underrated.

“He’s not a player that’s going to score you goals in a season but his value to the team is measured by how his team mates talk about him and we all have nothing but high praise for him.”

Lampard goes on to explain why Mikel is such an asset for Chelsea.

“He does a lot of work for us in the holding role, keeps the ball moving for us. He’s great at tackling, intercepting balls, winning balls, and has great feet.”

Mikel arrived at Chelsea as an 18-year-old in 2005 burdened with a £16million price tag and Lampard suggests that this may have played a art in piling up the pressure.

“I think he had a lot of pressure on him as a young player. He came with a big responsibility because of the way we brought him into the club, but I think in the last two or three years he has improved greatly. He’s a top top player now.”

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