Young Southampton striker Michael Obafemi was one of the few reasons for optimism during another disappointing 2018/19 Premier League campaign, and the youngster missed large chunks of his breakthrough year with two troublesome hamstring injuries.
Having made his debut for Southampton with a single substitute appearance in the 2017/18 campaign, last year he took his senior tally to two starts and six substitute appearances and he would’ve played far more had his year not been interrupted. The lad has plenty of developing left to do but given the hopes that surround him, he’s already received his first senior Republic of Ireland cap.
In many ways, given how manager Ralph Hasenhuttl likes to work with youth given his focus, Obafemi couldn’t have a better gaffer to learn from now, but our Austrian isn’t taking a kid gloves approach to his development and he questioned his professionalism back in January, and at the recent fans’ forum event, he wasn’t pulling any punches either and it’s a message Obafemi needs to take on board.
The Daily Echo quoted him as saying.
“Michael knows it is an important time now for him in his career because after two big injuries, if he doesn’t understand what it is about for his body – he has a special body – what it is about to live as a professional, to eat as a professional, to train, and prepare, and recover after training sessions. If he doesn’t understand after these two big injuries that he has to change something, then I cannot help him anymore. He has a very special body. He is unbelievably quick, and that means he is like a Formula 1 racing car; he needs the best fuel, the best service, and from everybody, he needs the best, and then he can help you. If we don’t treat him like that, it’s more in the garage than on the track. And I like him on the track because then he can help us.”
I’m not sure Hasenhuttl could have been clearer there really, hopefully the youngster takes it on board.