Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles coach, says John Obi Mikel remains the team’s captain until he changes his mind or stops playing for the three-time African champions.
The Franco-German tactician disclosed this at the venue of the game between MFM FC and Rangers International FC at the Agege Stadium.
According to Rohr, the former Chelsea midfielder took the right step by moving back to England to join Middlesbrough.
He said the move will make him play competitive football and be closer to his family.
Rohr said: “We are very happy with the news about Mikel joining Middlesborough because it has been a long time he played last for the team, but he is a player who really wants to play for the team.
“He wishes to return to Europe to be with his family and find a good club which he has done. Right now, he needs more time to be back in the team because we have yet to see him after the World Cup.
“We want him to come back to the national team like other players. If he is playing well with his new team, he stands a chance of coming back to us, but he has not told me he will quit the team.
“He remains the captain of the team till he says otherwise, we will be happy to have him back for his experience.”
Rohr said he hopes Eagles’ striker Odion Ighalo will also leave the Chinese Super League and return to Europe.
“The same issue like Mikel goes to Ighalo, there is now a big winter break in the Chinese league, even if the league is on, I am not sure that he wants to remain there,” he said.
“Ighalo wants to come back to Europe, though he still has a contract with his Chinese club. Right now, he wants a club in England or Turkey, I hope he can play again in a good club, just like other players, I want him to be fit.
“He has also contributed well to the national team, we enjoyed his contributions to the team.”