Russell Martin on Michael Obafemi “We are doing everything we can to help him“
Thursday, 25th Nov 2021 11:00 by Keith Haynes
Russell Martin honestly answered the Michael Obafemi question that this site broke yesterday morning when it became clear he wasn’t to play any part in Barnsley last night.
Obviously ready for the questions on Obafemi’s exclusion from the swans squad Russell Martin answered the media post match questions after his sides win at Oakwell. “We need to get Michael into a place where he is mentally and physically feeling as though he can produce his best performance on the pitch. So this one is not about anything else. He's a really great young man who has just taken a little bit of time to settle. We all need to help him with that. Me, the club and the players. We're doing everything we can to help him settle. He's training much better, and much harder, but when he comes on he can't have the impact he wants for us, and it's affecting him and frustrating him”
It would be easy to read in to Martin’s explanations and come up with some conclusions that some swans fans would find unpalatable. The fact is many are now questioning Obafemi’s desire to be a Swansea City player. And he should be aware of that. However, Martin’s progressive training style we understand will always challenge a player like Obafemi. He is clearly taking time to settle in west Wales, both culturally and in a way he feels positive about himself.
The Republic of Ireland international clearly needs to understand that he couldn’t be in a better place to learn and develop. Martin concluded. “Some guys take longer than others to settle. It's a big change for him in his life. I think it's really naive for people to think you just sign someone for a bit of money on a good contract and it just clicks. That just doesn't happen. The patience and perseverance, I hope, from both of us will pay off eventually."
What else would we have expected from Russell Martin other than the truth with an intelligent assessment and explanation as to why Obafemi spent yesterday evening at home and not in Barnsley. He is clearly struggling with the changes Martin is trying to implement at Swansea City. There’s more to his training philosophy for sure, and as we have already visited this week it’s very intense and challenging. And not just physically. Clearly Michael is struggling with some of the aspects required to buy in to that process.
This is the second time in recent weeks Obafemi has been dropped from a match day squad, his personal issues yet again the reasons for doing so. What he can do now is seek out the support of his team mates who now are single minded in their obsession to dominate every game of football they play in. This is a very exciting time for Swansea City, and if Michael has the desire and humility to also buy in to the group philosophy surely he too can benefit like many of his compatriots have since August ?
Sadly at the moment he isn’t in a good place, that’s more than clear, but he is in a very privileged position being able to wear our clubs shirt. We are certain more will come from this latest issue with Michael. However, we all want him to do well, and to succeed and be happy in Swansea. But to do that he too needs to find his own place as well. Nobody wants to read about him in years to come as a more mature individual regretting this very important phase of his career.
In Russell Martin, Michael Obafemi has a wonderfully skilled and open manager. All he has to do now is grasp the opportunity, rid himself of any ego, and become a part of this Swansea City journey.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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