Mikel Obi turned down a chance to return to the Nigeria team to focus on Middlesbrough’s play-off push.
The impressive anchor-man has spent the international break recharging his Boro batteries ready for Championship action to resume.
He is fully focused on Saturday’s clash with Norwich and the promotion run-in beyond that.
And that is why he declined an approach to play in last week’s Super Eagles games against Seychelles and Egypt.
German coach Gernot Rohr insists that multi-medalled Mikel is still very much part of his plans but revealed the midfielder had opted for club over country in the latest round of fixtures.
“He has so many games in Middlesbrough to look forward to, they are fighting for the play-offs too.
“He told me it is not the moment to return but if Obi Mikel is very fit again and has the motivation, then the door is open.
“I am not like Joachim Low who announced that three of his players are definitely out of the German national team, I never say that because you never know what can happen.
“We are watching and will see if he can come back. We also need experience in our team, we have so many young players.” “We need good players,” he said. “We need experience; we need Mikel in good fitness so he can bring something to the team.