Martin O'Neill last night attempted to clarify the confusion surrounding Michael Obafemi's international allegiances. Speaking to the media yesterday, O'Neill said that Obafemi's final decision as to who he wants to represent was some time away, and as a result would be omitted from the squad for the competitive game with Denmark. This came in spite of media reports that Obafemi has been committed to Ireland since he joined up with the squad. Amid social media criticism over seemingly wobbling in regard to his allegiance, Obafemi's agent published a statement today confirming that he wants to play for Ireland.
Speaking after his side's goalless draw at home to Northern Ireland, O'Neill tried to address it. He was unwilling to be specific as to when he understood Obafemi made the call, responding to a question as to whether the decision was made yesterday by saying "he made the call, and it was really up to him as well too. As I said, he was treated well at underage level here and it was the way he was received by the senior players".
O'Neill did confirm that "he's made that decision. He wanted a little bit of time to think about it. I spoke to him, he was very happy. Obviously, I spoke to his agent too.
The manager said he was unaware of any social media criticism directed to Obafemi, and the player himself hasn't raised it. While the striker is now likely to go to Denmark, the manager cautioned against seeing the teenager has a panacea to Ireland's abundant attacking ills.
He's certainly got promise about him. He's obviously got work to do. He's only been in and around the Southampton first team a couple of times. He's very young. I mentioned yesterday, I think he's very raw. He'll go home and mature -- in time, that'll happen.
Maybe, in the not-too-distant future, he could be a proper player for us. But I think it's asking a lot to be the answer to our goalscoring problems.
Elsewhere, O'Neill confirmed that Seani Maguire had to be substituted with yet another hamstring injury, and said he was disappointed by the Irish performance.
Yeah, very much so. We didn't create enough going forward and had a few moments of sloppiness ourselves. We didn't get on the ball enough, there were too many mistakes from us. Certainly in terms of going forward, we should do better.
I'm not too worried about them putting on a performance from me. I'm the manager, it's my responsibility. Overall, I think the disappointment would be for the supporters. We should do better, certainly going forward, we should be able to create more.