Michael Obafemi | I want to repay the faith the staff and fans have shown in me
Michael Obafemi wants to repay the faith Swansea City head coach Russell Martin and his staff have shown in him after his recent encouraging run of performances.
Obafemi joined the Swans from Southampton on deadline day last summer, but it was a deal longer in the making after plans for a loan move in January 2021 were put on hold due to injury.
The striker admits it has taken him time to settle, while adjusting to a new style of play and new surroundings.
However, two goals in his last two home games prove that the 21-year-old is finding his feet in South Wales, and Swans boss Martin has recently praised not just the goals, but the industrious and energetic performances from the young forward.
“It was difficult in the beginning, being so far away from my natural surroundings,” said Obafemi.
“Southampton felt like home. I’d moved away from London when I was 15 or 16 and lived in digs there, so that was like my safety net. To move away was difficult, but I knew it was the right decision for me.
“I think now I’ve come to terms with where I am and I’m really enjoying it. There’s a lot to Swansea that I haven’t seen still, but I will eventually get looking.
“The backroom staff and the gaffer, they’ve put a lot of work and effort into me and it’s time that I repay them with the stuff I do on the pitch.
“The gaffer’s shown a lot of faith in me and I’m thankful. I’m trying to repay him with goals and help out the team as much as possible.
“I want to score as many goals as I can and help the team out with assists. I want to help the team to finish as high as possible. We have 15 games left and we want to win as many as possible.
“I want to do myself proud, the fans proud and my family proud.”
The hard work has been paying off, and it was summed up by the winner the Republic of Ireland international scored against Blackburn, with his movement in behind and headed finish among the aspects of his game he has worked on with technical development coach Matt Gill.
Making his top flight debut at 17, Obefemi had already racked up 32 Premier League appearances for the Saints before making the 176-mile trip along the M4 to the Swansea.com Stadium.
It’s easy to forget then that, still four months shy of his 22nd birthday, he remains a very young player who is still maturing and learning.
Martin and his staff are working to mould a young squad to perfect and deliver their unique brand of possession-based football.
As with any transitional phase, there have been ups and downs and plenty of information to digest and take on board as a group.
And that analysis and team unity are something Obafemi - who has shown a burgeoning understanding with topscorer Joel Piroe - completely buys into.
“I think it’s important that players look back at their games to see what they did and what they can improve on,” he explained.
“That’s what we do. We sit down, analyse, and just go through what we did in the game and how we can improve for the next one.
“Like the header at Blackburn, it just shows that when you practice something, it will come to pass. I was practicing my heading all week, and thankfully I got on the end of Pato’s ball and scored the winner, I’m very happy about it.
“Joel’s a very technical player- more technical than I am. It’s kind of like a big-man small-man link up, I’m enjoying it and I think it’ll be good for the team
“I believe in Joel, and it shows in the video [of Obafemi celebrating Piroe’s finish against Bristol City].
“I knew he was going to score as soon as he nutmegged the defender, but I’m happy he got his goal and the team could kick on.
“From training to matches, we all support each other even off the pitch.”