Monday 16 September 2019

O'Neill: Obafemi decision a bit off, he has things to think about

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill says he can't be held accountable for other people's decisions after confirming that Michael Obafemi has stopped short of committing to Ireland even though he's in line for a debut against Northern Ireland tonight.

The Dublin-born 18-year-old is also qualified to play for England and Nigeria, and the latter are keen.

He would be tied down if he lined out in Monday's UEFA Nations League tie with Denmark, and O'Neill indicated yesterday that the Southampton striker would not be going to Aarhus.

The Ireland boss seems reluctant to pressurise the player into a decision, yet said it was a discussion with the youngster that had informed his viewpoint. He remains "hopeful" that the player will opt for Ireland.

"In terms of decisions, I think that's a bit off. He's got things to think about," said O'Neill, who was later pressed by a reporter who declared Obafemi has no plan to switch.

"That's great, who did you speak to?" he replied sceptically before continuing.

"But no, total commitment... he didn't say that to me. Nor, let's be fair to me, I didn't press him on it.

"Primarily because I didn't get the opportunity to speak to his family. He has enjoyed the training and got a lot of encouragement. We've got the game on Monday. Even if he does declare, do I want to go and do that then and then suddenly someone changes his mind later on? I'm not sure yet at this minute."

Irish Independent

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