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Michael Obafemi glad to have Kenny support after ‘interesting’ Swansea spell

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Michael Obafemi shoots to score the Republic of Ireland's second goal during the UEFA Nations League B Group 1 tie against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Michael Obafemi shoots to score the Republic of Ireland's second goal during the UEFA Nations League B Group 1 tie against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Michael Obafemi shoots to score the Republic of Ireland's second goal during the UEFA Nations League B Group 1 tie against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Michael Obafemi has thanked Stephen Kenny for ‘having his back’ during a difficult time at club level with Swansea.

Obafemi has been dropped by his club after a proposed deadline-day move to Burnley fell through, and there were doubts about whether he would be selected for this international window due to a lack of game-time.

However, Obafemi started both matches, lasting an hour in Glasgow before cramp ruled him out of the dying stages against Armenia on Tuesday – a game where he scored another long-range goal for his country.

The striker was critical of some aspects of his own play on an evening where he said Ireland lost concentration from a position of control.

He’s hoping the minutes will benefit him back at Swansea. Russell Martin was not impressed with Kenny, saying there was “two or three sides to every story” with regard to Obafemi’s situation, but the striker appreciated the manager’s support.

“I don’t really need to get into too much detail, but I’m thankful that he had my back. I’m here and I’ve done well, and that’s the main thing,” said Obafemi. “I’m glad that he said what he said but, ultimately, it’s in the past now and we’ve got to move forward.

“Obviously, I haven’t been playing recently. So it’s been fantastic to come here and get the minutes in and to get a goal to top it off.

“Stephen has put his trust in me and played me back to back – and I’m just thankful that I could reward him with a goal.”

Obafemi described his club status as “interesting”, without going into further detail.

“I am a Swansea player and happy there, but the main thing is to just get back playing. And that’s it, really,” he said.

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He has enjoyed a sudden elevation at international level since returning to the squad in June. Obafemi wasn’t always first choice with Kenny at U-21 level, and was well down the pecking order until he started to catch fire with Swansea.

“We are all fighting for places. We’ve got top strikers. Callum (Robinson], Scott (Hogan), Troy (Parrott), Chieo (Ogbene) so no one has really got their spot. It’s just me being confident and trying to maintain my spot, that’s the main thing,” continued the 22-year-old.

“We’re disappointed with the two goals (conceded on Tuesday) but ultimately we maintained League B, so we look forward.

“I felt like we had a good first 60 minutes against Armenia, then we got a bit complacent and sloppy. Thanks to Robbie (Brady) we got the three points.”


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