Monday 23 September 2019

Martin O'Neill considers giving Michael Obafemi his debut as Seamus Coleman insists 'you have to earn the jersey'

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and Seamus Coleman during a Press Conference at Ceres Park in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and Seamus Coleman during a Press Conference at Ceres Park in Aarhus, Denmark. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

IRELAND manager Martin O'Neill says that Southampton youngster Michael Obafemi has a chance of featuring against in the Nations League dead rubber against Denmark in Aaarhus tomorrow night.

“He has definitely committed to us now. He wants to play. I'll have a look at it and see how we are in the morning and just before the game. We only have three subs, not six like the other night.

“He looks like he is a good talent, he has made a few sub appearances for Southampton but he'd be the first one to say he has a long way to go at the minute and that goes for a lot of our players.

“The treatment he got at under-age levels and from within the squad and from our captain this week has played a huge role in his decision.

“It is a completely different situation to Declan Rice when we played Moldovoa, and it was suggested I should cap him then, which was ludicrous.

"Obafemi is with us and in the squad and has a chance of playing but most importantly has committed himself to us. So it is a much easier scenario than Declan Rice.

“It would be nice to end the year on a high note. Since March we have played eight games, five friendlies but we would like to do better competitively and this is an opportunity to do precisely that.

“At international level, momentum is difficult because games are sporadic. If you end the calendar year in November, in three months you might have a totally different side so I won't worry about momentum at this stage.”

Captain Seamus Coleman said the striker has made a good impression on the squad.

“He's been great, he's a strong boy and he has scored some fine finishes in training. He is great in the camp and we're happy to have him with us.

“The proudest thing I ever did was put on the green shirt. It can't be a case of giving someone a game to stay with us, as the manager said about Declan. You have to earn it, not because people say he could go somewhere else.”

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