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Stephen Kenny explains Michael Obafemi’s omission from Ireland squad

Michael Obafemi Stephen Kenny

It was one of the biggest talking points from Monday’s squad announcement.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has explained why Michael Obafemi was not included in the 23-man squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League double-header.

Michael Obafemi Stephen Kenny

Kenny named his first squad as Republic of Ireland manager for the upcoming matches against Bulgaria and Finland.

The former Dundalk manager has included seven forwards in his 23-man squad; Callum Robinson, Callum O’Dowda, James McClean, Aaron Connolly, Adam Idah, Troy Parrott and Shane Long – David McGoldrick will join up with the squad for the Finland game.

“I hope he goes into the U21 squad and does well now at that level.”

Michael Obafemi tweeted his displeasure at Stephen Kenny’s decision earlier today but the Republic of Ireland manager said that the youngster’s omission was down to tactical reasons.

“Michael is a great lad,” Kenny began.

“I think he’s been playing in a front two a lot, he’s still learning the position playing wider. That’s something he’s still coming to terms with.

“He’s in a much better physical condition at the moment. Michael has a very good future ahead of himself. I hope he goes into the U21 squad and does well now at that level and hopefully gets into the Southampton team.

“The manager at Southampton, Ralph Hassenhutl, has been brilliant for him. Michael didn’t make this squad, but squads are evolving and changing. We do play with one lone central striker and he’s not played that role that much because his team play with a two.

“It is a different position. He has played wide with Southampton on occasion, he’s still learning that one. I see him as a striker and he’s someone who hopefully has a big future with Ireland.”

Kenny’s Ireland side will take on Bulgaria on September 3rd before facing Finland on Sunday, September 6th.

The former Dundalk boss will hope this offers his squad enough preparation. Ireland play their crunch Euro 2020 qualifier with Slovakia in October.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email [email protected] or on Twitter