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14th Nov 2018

Michael Obafemi won’t travel with the Ireland squad for the match against Denmark

Robert Redmond

Michael Obafemi

“I won’t be rushing him.”

Martin O’Neill has said that Michael Obafemi will not travel with the Republic of Ireland squad to Denmark for their final Uefa Nations League game, casting doubt over the player’s international future.

Obafemi was called up to the squad for the Denmark match and the friendly against Northern Ireland on Thursday night at the Aviva Stadium.

The Southampton forward was born in Dublin to Nigerian parents and moved to England at a young age. As such, he is eligible to play for three different countries.

He has played for Ireland at U19 level and there has been no suggestion that either England or Nigeria were attempting to get him to switch allegiance.

However, it appears that the Ireland manager is unsure about Obafemi’s long-term intentions.

O’Neill told reporters in Dublin ahead of the match against Northern Ireland that Obafemi could play some part in that game.

But he is highly unlikely to be involved against Denmark, as it is a competitive match and the player would then be tied to the Irish match.

“In terms of decisions, for tying down, I think that’s a bit of a distance off,” O’Neill said.

“He has things to think about, and I certainly won’t put pressure on him. If he came in, if he rushed in and said that, ‘this is what I want to do’, that’s a different issue. But I want people to want to play for us.”

The Ireland manager said that Obafemi has “enjoyed” training with the team and he has impressed his new teammates. O’Neill said he has spoken with the player but not with his parents.

While many might be critical of Obafemi for seemingly still being unsure about his international future, this issue doesn’t reflect well on the Ireland manager.

Why is he calling up a player who is unsure about what country they want to play for?

Why hasn’t be spoken to the player’s parents? Why is he capping a player who could potentially switch allegiance?

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