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'I know I'm still young and that I have to get that right' - Michael Obafemi admits he must be more 'professional'


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Michael Obafemi. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

Michael Obafemi. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

Michael Obafemi. Photo: Richard Sellers/PA

Ireland striker Michael Obafemi has admitted he needs to be more "professional" to sustain a long-term career after his approach was criticised by his manager at Southampton.

Obafemi, born in Dublin but raised in London, had made 19 first-team appearances for the Saints before the shutdown of English football due to Covid-19. He had scored three times, including two goals in the Premier League, but manager Ralf Hassenhuttl has issued warnings to Obafemi over his attitude.

In November, after Obafemi had made his first start of the season, Hassenhuttl said the teenager had the potential for a great career but added: "He still has a lack of professionalism in his whole life. This is a young guy who must learn quickly."

And the 19-year-old admits he needs to adapt. "Being professional is something that has to be done," he said. "I know I'm still young and that I have to get that right if I want to stay here. As well as that, the injuries that I've had in the past have been a learning curve for me because it was a difficult time. But now I'm fit and healthy and am always raring to go."

He admitted that adapting to life as a first team player has not been easy.

"There are a lot of pressures that come with it and a lot of sacrifices that have to be made," he said. "I had to move away from home, so not seeing my friends and family is a big factor. But it's what you've got to do if you want to make it as a professional."

Obafemi has not been involved at senior level since making his debut under Martin O'Neill but has been capped twice by Stephen Kenny at U-21 level.

Irish Independent


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