’Dream’ Premier League debut for 17-year-old Irish striker Michael Obafemi ’just the beginning’

Michael Obafemi may not be a household name yet, but his career is only just beginning.

The 17-year-old striker made a surprise debut for his club Southampton yesterday, peaking the interest of Irish fans.

His appearance late on against Tottenham made him the second youngest player ever to line out for the Saints in the Premier League, after Luke Shaw.

The cameo also made him the first player born after 2000 to make a Southampton appearance.

And it was almost an even more special moment when he had the chance to put the Saints in the lead, but with only Spurs keeper Michael Vorm to beat the former Leyton Orient player knocked the ball wide.

Speaking about his debut, Obafemi said: "It’s a special feeling. I’ve dreamed of it since I was a kid.

"I came in yesterday thinking I was going to be playing for the U18s against Fulham. I got stopped by the manager (Mauricio Pellegrino) and he said I wasn’t going to be playing (for the U18s) and that I was going to be training and potentially in the squad (for the game against Tottenham).

"I found out in the afternoon that I was going to be in the squad."

Obafemi added: "I can’t stop here. This is just the beginning of what I hope is my career and I’d just like to move on from here."

After the game, Southampton manager Pellegrino praised the youngster.

"I think he is a really fast player and I think the spirit is there," he said after the game.

"He is also a good finisher. I observed the back four was really why and he would have some chances.

MichaelObafemi. Pic:Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Michael Obafemi. Pic: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

"He was really close (with his chance). But it’s the beginning of his career, still, he has to grow a lot.

"But to us, that we have had a good history with our home-grown players, Michael is one more.

We’re sure the debut of a young striker will have caught the attention of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill and the FAI but it may a simple process to get him to the senior team.

The youngster has already played for Ireland at underage level but his eligible for other nations.

Obafemi was born in Ireland to Nigerian parents and he grew up in England. Independent.ie report that Nigeria are interested in having the player declare for them.

With international level strikers thin for the Ireland team, here’s hoping O’Neill can convince Obafemi to line out for the Boys In Green.

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