Photo by Dave Thompson/Pool via Getty Images

Michael Obafemi certainly has a tendency to turn up on the big occasion.

The Southampton starlet scored just three times in 21 Premier League games last season but two of those will live long in the memory of Saints fans everywhere.

First, there was that sublime, first-time finish at Stamford Bridge, guided with laser-like precision into the Chelsea net during a famous 2-0 away win.

Flash forward to July and, with 96 minutes on the clock, Obafemi bundled over the line as Southampton snatched a deserved draw at a shellshocked Manchester United side.

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But, if Obafemi is to challenge Che Adams and Danny Ings for a starting place in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team, the 20-year-old academy graduate will need to make his mark against the West Broms, the Fulhams and the Newcastles of the world on a weekly basis.

The talent is there. But consistency, as is the case for many young players, remains elusive.

“The problem with Michael was always he would play one good game and then fall back a little bit and was not professional enough to force or keep his position in the team or in the squad,” Hasenhuttl tells the Echo when asked why Obafemi has played just 13 minutes of league football this season, falling behind fellow youngster Dan N’Lundulu in the pecking order.

“Once he is in the squad, don’t give (your place) away so easily and try to be aggressive and dangerous in front of the goal. I think this is something he misses.

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“Others have been better. It’s as simple as this.”

According to The Sun, Obafemi was a £10 million summer target for both Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion and there are two ways to read Hasenhuttl’s comments.

Should Villa and the Baggies be encouraged by the Ireland international’s lack of opportunities at St Mary’s, knowing that renewed interest in January may just tempt Southampton into a sale?

On the other hand, paying £10 million for a forward who has made just one brief cameo appearance in nearly three months doesn’t exactly sound like brilliant business.

Clearly, Obafemi has a lot to learn.

But, considering that it was Hasenhuttl himself who turned Timo Werner, Naby Keita and Marcel Sabitzer into bonafide footballing A-listers at RB Leipzig, the Southampton starlet should remember that the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.

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