Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill says he selected Southampton’s Michael Obafemi to fend off interest from other countries. Obafemi has been called up to the Ireland squad for the first time and is in line to make his competitive debut against Denmark on November 19.
That would secure his future with the men in green – something O’Neill is keen to do as the 18-year-old was born in Dublin to Nigerian parents but raised in the London area.
Therefore the talented youngster would be eligible to play for the African nation and possibly England as well, and the 66-year-old coach pulled no punches when asked if that was behind his and Hearts ace Jimmy Dunne’s selection.
“It would be ridiculous of me to say that wouldn’t be a part of that,” he told the Irish Mirror. “I spoke to young Dunne, he was delighted with the call and I think he genuinely wants to play for us and that’s important.
“I was less concerned about Obafemi, I think his desire is to play for us at the end of it all. I’ve known from the past that even players involved in a 36/37 man squad always get a lift from that.”