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Michael Obafemi: “I Lost The Ball & He Screamed At Me For Five Minutes”

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Southampton and Ireland striker Michael Obafemi has opened up on his experience working under former assistant manager Roy Keane during his first international call-up last November.

Obafemi, one of Irish football’s brightest talents, was included in Martin O’Neill’s senior squad for the games against Northern Ireland and Denmark last year.

The 18-year old made his debut during the last 10 minutes of the UEFA Nations League game in Aarhus as Ireland drew 0-0.

Speaking exclusively to Pundit Arena, Obafemi outlined that even though making his international debut was an incredibly proud moment, he did draw the ire of then assistant manager Roy Keane during the game.

Obafemi spoke of his experience working with the former Manchester United captain and explained that losing the ball in a game does not go down well with Keane.

“I’ve been asked this a lot! He’s not as scary as people think,” laughed Obafemi.

“Well he is… but he isn’t really! I remember one time, in the Denmark game when I made my debut, I lost the ball and he screamed at me for a good five minutes.

“He was just screaming at me, I was like ‘oh no,’ he literally just carried on screaming and screaming but it was alright. His heart is in the right place, he can just be a bit angry.”

Before declaring for the Boys in Green and making his competitive debut, there had been some confusion surrounding Obafemi’s international allegiance.

The 18-year old is eligible to represent both Nigeria and England and during November’s camp Martin O’Neill outlined that Obafemi “still had a decision to make” over his future.

“He could play with (Nigeria or England). He has decisions to make for his future. He would need to discuss this with his family. There’s no real pressure for him to make that decision in the next couple of days.”

Coca-Cola Premier League Sponsorship 3/4/2019, Michael Obafemi, Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Obafemi, however, explained that O’Neill never directly asked him what he wanted to do in regards his future, but that he always knew he would be choosing Ireland.

“Martin O’Neill never directly asked me what I wanted to do. He just said ‘you’re not in a rush,’ he didn’t want to put pressure on me in the situation but I knew what I was going to do.

“I spoke to my agent, we knew what we were going to do. That’s when I made the tweet, ‘All In.’ It got a great response so I was happy with that.”


Stay with Pundit Arena over the coming days for more exclusive video and written content from Ireland international Michael Obafemi.

Coca-Cola Ireland is giving Irish football fans a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the iconic Premier League Trophy this April as part of Coca-Cola’s exciting sponsorship.

On Saturday 13th April the famous trophy will be on public display in Dundrum Town Square from 10-6pm, with Michael Obafemi appearing on-stage to talk about his emerging career in the Premier League.

This is to celebrate Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the Premier League that began in 2019 which will bring Irish fans closer to the action than ever before, with unrivalled one-off experiences, access to the biggest games and other opportunities over the next three years.

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Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here