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Football

03rd Apr 2019

Michael Obafemi was unfazed by social media abuse around call-up

Jack O'Toole

Republic of Ireland striker Michael Obafemi has said that he was unfazed by the online abuse he received while he was weighing up his international future.

Obafemi had represented the Ireland U19 team at underage level but had attracted interest from both England and Nigeria ahead of his Ireland debut against Denmark last year.

While he was weighing up his international options, Obafemi was subjected to some abuse on his social media channels but he said that he was able to deflect the negative attention.

“No. The thing is, I didn’t really pay attention,” said Obafemi.

“Obviously you see little bits, but I didn’t really think about it and it didn’t hinder my decision. It didn’t really play a part in my mind because obviously I knew myself that I was going to pick Ireland. Anything anyone was saying about me just went to the back of my mind. It didn’t mean anything.”

Obafemi entered the Irish camp with some reasonable expectation after he became the youngest goalscorer in Southampton history but he said that Everton defender and Ireland captain Seamus Coleman helped him settle in rather quickly.

“Seamus Coleman. He just spoke to me and said ‘I’m glad to have you here’. He told me to take my time and not rush into anything and stuff like that. He was checking that I was okay after my injury and said if I needed anything just to give him a message or a call.”

Obafemi has made six appearances for the Saints senior team since making his debut against Tottenham last year but he has suffered numerous setbacks with hamstring injury and has been sidelined with a tear since February.

“There was surgery on the cards for a bit but the way that my hamstring was healing they didn’t think surgery was needed. I’m happy for that.”

He hopes to return from his latest injury in May and plans to go on a training camp before making a full return to pre-season.

He has yet to speak to current Ireland manager Mick McCarthy but feels that it’ll be a conversation that will happen in time.

“I don’t think it’s been taken off the cards yet,” Obafemi replied when asked if he thought he’d be considered for Ireland’s upcoming camps in May.

“But the main focus so far is the pre-season but we just have to wait and see. I have not spoken to Mick McCarthy yet but I think that that’s a conversation that will be waiting to happen.”

Coca-Cola is giving Irish football fans a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the iconic Premier League Trophy this April.

Get down to Dundrum Town Centre on Saturday, April 13th, between 10am and 6pm, to hear from the Republic of Ireland’s rising star Michael Obafemi and be in with a chance to win exclusive VIP match day box tickets.

To find out more about Coca-Cola’s partnership with the Premier League and see the full schedule of upcoming activity, visit www.coca-cola.ie/premier-league. Join the conversation using #WhereEveryonePlays.

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