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Premier League

Southampton’s Michael Obafemi commits to Republic of Ireland

The 18-year-old striker could also have pledged allegiance to England or Nigeria.

Southampton’s Michael Obafemi commits to Republic of Ireland

Southampton’s striker Michael Obafemi has declared himself “all in” for Ireland despite indications that his international future was up in the air.

Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neil, had commented that he would not pick Obafemi in a competitive game until he had decided his international allegiance.

The 18-year-old was handed his maiden senior call-up for last Thursday’s friendly against Northern Ireland. However, he failed to appear in the goalless stalemate.

According to O’Neil, Obafemi will not be included in Ireland’s squad for the Uefa Nations League match against Denmark on Monday, as that would “tie him down”.

'He has things to think about and he should certainly not be rushing it. That was my point to him,' said O'Neill on last week.

'If he rushed in a few days ago saying 'this is exactly what I want to do', then that's a different issue. I want people to want to play for us and I want that decision to be right for the rest of the time.'

Ireland over England and Nigeria

Dublin-born Obafemi was raised in London and has Nigerian parents, thus, making the Super Eagles and England national team options for him.

However, though social media the striker announced on Friday that he was “all in” to play for the country of his birth.

Also, the Playerworks CSM agency that represents Obafemi, issued a statement to confirm their client’s decision: 'Due to current speculation surrounding Michael Obafemi and as Michael's representatives, we would like to go on record to say that we are not in talks with either Nigeria or England, nor is it something we have ever pursued.

'Michael was born in Ireland, so this is the country he naturally wants to play for.

'Martin O'Neill has shown great faith in Michael and he wants to repay that faith by helping the team achieve success.

'Michael is 100 per cent committed to Ireland and is looking forward to an exciting future with the national team.'

Obafemi made his Premier League debut for Southampton against Tottenham in January 2018, and is still due to score. He had previously represented Republic of Ireland at Under-19 level.


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