Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is keen for Michael Obafemi to show more professionalism as the youngster continues to nurse a hamstring problem.
The Republic of Ireland international has been sidelined since scoring his first senior goal in the Saints’ 3-1 win away at Huddersfield Town just before Christmas.
Obafemi has enjoyed an involved role under Hasenhuttl after the Austrian was appointed as the club’s first-team manager in December but is likely to be ruled out for at least another two weeks.
Hasenhuttl spoke at a fans forum on Thursday night and discussed the 18-year-old’s adjustment to his style of play. As quoted by the Daily Echo, the boss said:
Michael Obafemi came up from the youth and he has a very, very stiff body because he is a type of sprinter and this guy has to work very hard on his body, so he can play the game we need him to play.
He is very, very quick and we need him to sprint not two or three times, but we need it 20 or 30 times. To do this, he must be more physically trained and also have a better recovery like he did until now.
I think I am missing a bit of professionalism in his work and that is sometimes a part of the young players. They think it goes very easy to come up and play in the Premier League, but it’s much more than this.
To be a professional means to be working hard every day, preparing for the training and then recovering. I think that’s sometimes not in their mind and this may be a reason why he [Obafemi] has problems with his hamstrings.
Obafemi is among several young players who have been utilised by the former RB Leipzig manager following his arrival at Southampton.
The promising youngster will be determined to return to action quickly, with competition for places in the Saints’ front-line fierce following the return of Charlie Austin and Danny Ings from suspension and injury respectively.