Ralph Hasenhuttl has eased concerns that Michael Obafemi has suffered a reoccurrence of the hamstring issue that ruled him out for swathes of last season.
The 19-year-old netted the decisive goal for Southampton as they defeated Fulham 1-0 on Tuesday night to book their place in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
However, the mood was dampened as Obafemi went down, clutching the back of his leg after sprinting away.
Hasenhuttl was asked about the Republic of Ireland international after the match. The manager delivered a relieving verdict on his condition, indicating that the knock was likely to have been just cramp.
As quoted by The Daily Echo, the boss said:
I don’t know if he’s injured or had just a little bit of cramp in the hamstrings. He was not injured. He scored an important goal for us.
It was his first time in the team from the beginning and we gave him the chance to show up. He hasn’t played so far in this season, but he is a young guy who must develop his game.
Read Southampton’s verdict
When Obafemi grimaced and held the back of his leg, we all thought the same thing: that’s another few months out.
However, it’s positive to hear that Hasenhuttl does not believe that the young forward’s injury is too severe. He had a generally quiet game at Craven Cottage but displayed good instincts to pounce on Nathan Redmond’s low ball across the face of goal.
Obafemi has been preferred to Shane Long as a backup striker by Hasenhuttl this season, indicating that he does feature in the Austrian’s plans for the season ahead.
Therefore, it comes as a big relief to note that the 19-year-old’s progress is unlikely to be halted by the knock he sustained during his first start of the new campaign.