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15th Nov 2018

Michael Obafemi has committed his international future to the Republic of Ireland

Great news for the parish

Darragh Murphy

With little clarity coming from Martin O’Neill, Michael Obafemi has taken it upon himself to make his international allegiances clear.

It looked like the Republic of Ireland could be forced down a path of uncertainty like the ones involving Declan Rice and, previously, Jack Grealish but Obafemi isn’t the kind of player to string anyone along.

Obafemi was called up to the Ireland squad last week ahead of Thursday night’s friendly against Northern Ireland and the Uefa Nations League match against Denmark next Monday but O’Neill muddied the waters at his pre-match press conference by claiming that the 18-year-old would not be travelling with the squad for the Denmark game.

The Southampton forward was born in Ireland to Nigerian parents but moved to England at a young age so was eligible to declare for all three countries.

But having represented Ireland at U19 level, he doesn’t intend to switch allegiances and released a statement on his international future through his agency, Playerworks CSM.

“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,” the statement read.

“Since Mark O’Toole spotted Michael early on, he, along with the other staff at Ireland, have given Michael a great opportunity, which he has enjoyed immensely.

“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.”

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