Three of the last Ireland matches have featured a forward partnership of Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi but the latter admits his continuation is dependent on an uptick at Swansea City.
A failed transfer swoop by Burnley for Obafemi last month didn’t end on deadline day, for Russell Martin’s annoyance at the player’s attitude led to a period of banishment.
He finally got two minutes off the bench before an international window that Stephen Kenny felt the striker was up to, starting him in both the concluding Nations League games against Scotland and Armenia.
The 22-year-old reciprocated on Tuesday by hammering the ball into the same goal he’d breached against the Scots in June, sending Ireland into what seemed an unassailable lead over League B’s worst team.
Cramp eventually caught up with him after Armenia fought back to 2-2, putting Obafemi off the pitch for Robbie Brady’s stoppage-time winner from the spot.
There’s 11 Swansea City matches until the next international duty in November, the pair of friendlies against Norway and Malta, and Obafemi is aware mending fences with Martin is linked to his spot in the Ireland side.
He reached double-figures last season and that type of firepower ought not be ignored by a manager with designs on overseeing promotion to the Premier League.
“The main thing for me is being confident, trying to maintain my place in the Ireland team,” said the Londoner, confessing game-time is a prerequisite for his Irish hopes.
“We are all fighting for places because there’s top strikers in this squad, including Callum (Robinson), Scott (Hogan), Chieo (Ogbene) and Troy. Nobody really has their spot in the team.
“I need to get back playing. I'm a Swansea player and happy there but things never really heated up (on deadline day).” Martin got dragged a spat with Kenny over Obafemi, taking issue with his assertion of there being “two or three sides” to every story.
“I’m glad Stephen said what he said,” he affirmed. “I don’t really need to get into too much detail but I’m thankful that he had my back. It’s been interesting but Stephen has played me in back-to-back games and I’ve done well.”
Obafemi shared the culpability for allowing Armenia back into the game, acknowledging “sloppy touches” were at the foundation of the visitors’ reprieve. He was one of seven starters aged 23 or under, illustrative of a generation prone to suffering from inexperience.
“We were cruising until they stunned us so it would have been nice for the win to happen in different circumstances,” the ex-Southampton striker reasoned.
“Keeping our concentration is the main thing.”