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'This is a first step in my career': Obafemi after record-breaking first Premier League goal

The 18-year-old Dubliner became the youngest senior Ireland international to score in the Premier League.

Obafemi celebrates scoring against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Obafemi celebrates scoring against Huddersfield on Saturday.
Image: Richard Sellers

ON A DAY to remember away to Huddersfield yesterday, Michael Obafemi became the youngest senior Ireland international to score in the Premier League and broke the record to become Southampton’s youngest ever goalscorer in the English top-flight.

The 18-year-old made sure of the three points as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men secured their second win on the bounce, with the Dubliner scoring Southampton’s third during an impressive 3-1 win.

Peeling away from his marker before taking one touch to compose himself, Obafemi slipped the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Jonas Lössl before reeling away in celebration having only made his full Premier League debut three weeks ago against Man United.

“It was surreal,” he said speaking about the goal after full-time. “And I’m thankful to Redders (Nathan Redmond) for giving me the assist. I should have scored two or three more but I’m just delighted to have got my first goal.

Huddersfield Town v Southampton - Premier League - John Smith's Stadium Obafemi and Nathan Redmond celebrate together at John Smith Stadium. Source: Richard Sellers

“I wanted to get the previous chance out of my head straight away because I knew myself it should have gone in the back of the net. I knew another one would come and I’m glad I put it away when it did.

“Just before I came on, the manager said to make sure I run and do the basics before anything else and the goal will come. All the lads on the bench were saying just show what I can do and that the rest would fall into place.”

Obafemi joined the Saints from Leyton Orient in 2016, making his league debut as a substitute at home to Tottenham in January.

The forward also made his senior international debut earlier this year, being brought on by Martin O’Neill away to Denmark last month in the Uefa Nations League.

The teenager was quick to praise new manager Hasenhüttl for his help in turning the fortunes of Southampton in the last month, as well as team-mate Redmond for providing the assist.

Michael Obafemi with his mother Bola and brother Affy after the game The 18-year-old made his senior Ireland debut in Aarhus against Denmark. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The former RB Leipzig boss has had an immediate impact at St Mary’s, with the side ending Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run last weekend before yesterday’s 3-1 win.

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“He’s changed the whole system,” Obafemi said. “You can see we are a lot more aggressive and direct and playing higher up the pitch. It suits us and it’s getting us results.

“On the pitch, Redders is a close friend of mine and he’s always giving me advice before games and even off the pitch as well, making sure I stay grounded.

“This is a first step in my career. I’ve come a long way since my debut against Tottenham and I’m thankful for everyone who has believed in me and got me back into this position.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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