Michael Obafemi Ready To Put The Past Behind Him And Become The Star Ireland Envisioned

Michael Obafemi Ready To Put The Past Behind Him And Become The Star Ireland Envisioned

Gary Connaughton By Gary Connaughton

Gary Connaughton reporting from the Aviva Stadium

When Michael Obafemi first broke through as a prospect back in 2018, these are the type of days we hoped he would produce in a green jersey. It took much longer than many anticipated, but last night's game against Scotland finally marked his arrival as a key player on the international stage.

It had been a long road up until this point. Obafemi's history with Ireland is not necessarily the most straightforward one, with injuries, a lack of form, and snubs from both managers and the player himself being part of his story over the last four years.

None of that will matter now.

The 21-year old was given a standing ovation by the Aviva faithful as he left the pitch, summing up the impact he had during his 55 minutes or so on the pitch.

This game summed up everything he is about. In many ways, it was the complete centre forward performance.

The striker pressed brilliantly right from the outset of the game, causing some nervy moments in the Scottish defence. His movement was also impeccable, even if the ball did not find him in dangerous areas at times. Where he had previously made his name by running in behind defences, he also showed his ability to drop into holes and operate in the space in front of the opposition.


That was perfectly demonstrated for Troy Parrott's goal, with Obafemi providing a sublime assist.

A stunning pass.

When he had his own glimpse at goal in the second half, he certainly wasn't found wanting.





Obafemi was rightly given the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.


He is a player that possesses plenty of personality, both on and off the pitch. He was still in jovial mood when he stopped to have a word with the media in the mixed zone after the game, carrying the huge crystal vase that he was given to mark his performance. Despite being new to this Ireland squad, he already fits like a glove.

It’s been amazing, the boys have made me feel welcome. I wouldn’t say it’s different but a couple of the lads are different from the first camp that I was in. They’ve all made me feel welcome, and I'm just thankful for them really...

I couldn’t wish for a better first start really, a goal, an assist and a 3-0 win. It’s amazing.

The boys did well today, a 3-0 win will give us belief to get up higher in the group. We’re looking forward to Tuesday.

A return to international football was always going to be next step in Michael Obafemi's journey. For much of the last few years, it looked as though his career could get away from him. Injuries, a lack of form, and a struggle for playing time at Southampton resulted in his development becoming stunted.

There was a sense of relief when he made the move to Swansea City last summer, although he initially struggled there too. However, his form picked up to a remarkable degree after the turn of the year.

What changed? The player himself decided that enough was enough. He had to finally start living up to his potential.

Obviously since coming to Swansea, it was a difficult beginning as I’ve said before. But since February I’ve felt like myself.

Coming into the camp, I felt confident, and I believed in myself and I think the fans saw that today. That’s what I want to do for Ireland, just show what I can do.

It just clicked in my brain. If I really want to become a world class striker and a top player, it’s got to start now.

Ireland can now reap the rewards of that change in mentality.

Soon after his appointment back in 2020, Stephen Kenny admitted that he had doubts about where Michael Obafemi would fit into his team. The youngster had only played as part of a two-man attack at Southampton and his game did not seem well rounded enough to act as a complete striker just yet.

Last night's performance showed that any holes previously present in his game have now been filled.

There were times when Obafemi felt hard done by after being left out of Ireland squads. On other occasions, the player declared himself unavailable as he attempted to reignite his club career. That is now very much in the past, with the marriage between him and Ireland looking like it could be a very fruitful one. Now that his moment at international level has arrived, he is here to stay.

I just thought now would be the perfect time, I was ready, I was scoring goals at club level. That was the main thing, I was confident in myself, and yeah, I brought that here today and the fans saw that...

I don’t really want to talk about the past, the past is the past. I’m here now and that’s the main thing. I’m here to stay.

If he can replicate that performance going forward, last night will not be the only occasion that Michael Obafemi will be forced to lug a heavy crystal vase around the mixed zone in front of waiting journalists.

You get the sense that the player himself wouldn't mind such a chore...

SEE ALSO: Caoimhín Kelleher Says Ireland Need To Keep Building Momentum After Scotland Win

caoimhin kelleher


Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com