Thursday , June 17 2021

"It was upsetting them to let go" – Southampton urged Ireland to make a debut against Michael Obafemi.




Irish national team coaches Martin O & Neill and Michael Obafemi participated in an Irish training session at the FAI National Training Center in Abbotstown. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Irish national team coaches Martin O & Neill and Michael Obafemi participated in an Irish training session at the FAI National Training Center in Abbotstown. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Kevin Palmer

Southampton's first team, Kelvin Davis, urged striker Michael Obafemi to give Martin O'Neill the first hat to Republican manager Martin O'Neill, I believe that the opportunity to play international football is the perfect opportunity for him.

Saints legend Davis gave an insight into the future of his athlete at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night in an exclusive interview with Independent.ie ahead of his senior debut with Ireland.

Obakemi was impressed with O'Neill and the Irish coach staff recently, but the Irish team confirmed that the Uefa Champions League match against Denmark would be difficult.

Obakemi is eligible to play in England and Nigeria, while the latter has expressed tentative interest in the 18-year-old's transfer to London, who was born in Dublin.

But Davis believes Obafemi is an ideal player to refresh the Irish front because he has suggested that a young player can have a huge impact on the international arena.

"I've seen Michael go through the ranks in Southampton, and the first thing you notice him is that he has a real pace," Davis told us.

"The scoring record for athletes under 23 was excellent and we were delighted to hear that we all had a call from Martin O'Neill in Southampton.

"He has a lot of talent in every way, and he has a long way to go before he knows how good he is, but I think the raw materials are being developed and can have a big impact on the Irish side.

"Obviously, the big problem after Robin Keane's retirement was the goal and fear of the forward line, so he was able to take it a little clearer at his pace, and now I think playing on the international level can be a great help for his development.

"In my opinion, Ireland will not try to recruit him in full time, and if he puts on a hat in a friendly, he should take him on board."

Declan Rice is still uncertain about the future of the international community, thinking of the transition to England after three matches in Ireland. The suspicion about Obamami's future prompted O'Neal to suggest that he should not call a player who did not decide what he wanted.

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