Michael Obafemi talks about a boat trip on the Solent with Ralph Hasenhuttl when a hooded figure appears at the window.
& # 39; He loves sailing, & # 39; the young attacker begins. & # 39; So we went sailing as a team. & # 39; Staff versus players, it was an attempt by the manager of Southampton to build morale and unity among his team.
The staff won and on this day the prankster also gets his way. Obafemi's concentration drifts away Nathan Redmond distracts his teammate with comical gestures. & # 39; I'm laughing at him, sorry, & # 39; says Obafemi.
In the short 19-year-old senior career, Redmond has become a kind of mentor and older brother. He advises the Republic of Ireland internationally on & # 39; simple things & # 39 ;, such as where he should be on the field and what he should eat from it.
On Boxing Day they combined Chelsea, nets on both sides – time to secure a valuable three points on Stamford Bridge.
& # 39; It was certainly a sweet feeling & # 39 ;, says Obafemi Sportsmail . & # 39; It was incredible to have such an important goal for the team. It was a huge win for us. I was so happy for Nathan, because he had a big influence on me. & # 39;
It was Obafemi & # 39; s second Premier League goal – and his first for more than a year.
Redmond also offered a helping hand when Obafemi opened his account against Huddersfield in December 2018. 18 years and 169 days old, that made him the youngest Premier League scorer in the history of his club and country.
& # 39; I will never forget that day & # 39 ;, he thinks. & # 39; I remember as if it were yesterday. Rescuers won the ball and cut it back, I took a touch, the defender slipped, I placed it nicely. & # 39; Given the flow of young talent that has come through Southampton in recent years, it is a record to keep. The club's ability to feed people like Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana was an important factor in convincing Obafemi to become a member of Leyton Orient in 2016.
& # 39; Look at their record of service, & # 39; he says. & # 39; I just thought: this is the club for me. If they can, why not me? & # 39;
Now the attacker, who after a year had stopped playing released by Watford, is under it. "I want to continue, make my family proud and do as much as I can."
Obafemi, who is only 20, has always been in a hurry.
& # 39; I remember that when I was at the day care center, all the other kids were always cycling around, but I just sprinted in circles around & # 39 ;, he says. "I think I knew I was fast then."
At least high school students tried to participate. "We used to do small 100m races and I remember having a broadcaster on my sports day," he remembers before posing for her high tone.
"When I sprinted, she was like:" Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Michael Obafemi! "& # 39;
In his midst, he was crowned the fastest boy in his municipality with a time of 10.8 seconds. For context, when Dina Asher-Smith broke her own British championship record in August, she ran 10.96sec.
I never trained. I used to show up & # 39 ;, Obafemi admits. That was until football became his only focus.
Hasenhuttl gave Obafemi and other young players crucial game time, even while the club fought to stay in the Premier League. Now, after an injured year, he is firmly back in the manager's plans.
& # 39; He has had a major impact on my career. He believed in me, he thinks I'm a "cool guy" like he said to the media, & # 39; says Obafemi. Would he return the compliment? & # 39; Yes, & # 39; Obafemi laughs. "I'd say it, we have a good relationship!"
However, last month the Saints boss warned his young indictment that the road is long. "He still has a lack of professionalism throughout his life," Hasenhuttl said.
I know I'm not 100 percent as professional as i k could be, & # 39; Obafemi admits. "I'm still young, I still have to learn certain things."
An area where he has made steps is in the kitchen. Obafemi has moved out of club excavations to a flat where he lives alone and occasionally cooks. His specialty? & # 39; A rice wok, it's not bad. & # 39; More often, however, he takes home meals prepared by the club chef.
Saints & # 39; try & # 39; let him eat more vegetables and on the training field Obafemi learns from Danny Ings and Shane Long. Their most important advice? Stay calm – something that the young person has paid attention to in life and in football.
& # 39; (I was) hyper, I was everywhere and always bounced on the walls & he said. But I think I've calmed down a lot. Last season I was just a kid. I still am, but then I didn't really know when to use my speed. I would use it all the time and then just blow it up. & # 39;
He would also sustain injuries. Players are always at the mercy of accident when it comes to protecting their body. But after two hamstring injuries had blocked his progress, Obafemi took special measures.
He does more stretching exercises and runs more. And with good reason. Recent football history is littered with fast players such as Michael Owen, whose caretakers were derailed by repeated muscle injuries.
& # 39; It was clear in my mind, & # 39; Obafemi admits. & # 39; Will this continue? & # 39;
It bears witness to the medical staff of the saints and Obafemi's determination that his career is back on track. Now his focus is on cementing a place in Saints that is starting to elevate – and satisfies its most dedicated fans. every match. & # 39; To be honest, my mother does that too. She says, "Come on, Michael, come on, shoot or something," and I'm like, "Yes, Mom, I'm trying!" & # 39;
The whole family awaits that elusive first goal of the St Mary's crowd.
Obafemi has already viewed this moment – and how it will celebrate. "If it happens, that's when the fans will see," he says.
Under Hasenhuttl, the saints recover after a bad start to the season. The results have improved in recent weeks with the victory over Spurs on New Year's Day with Saints-mid-table thanks to 10 points from four games.
[1 9459002] & # 39; We sit together, hold ourselves strong and focus on ourselves, & # 39; Obafemi ve Veals. "It's easy to get caught up in what people are saying on the outside, but we are convinced that we focus on what we do, we will get the best results that we can."
For Obafemi, that also means his displays for saints who act as a springboard for the world stage.
He grew up in London, but his international future lies with his birthplace, Ireland.
& # 39; Of course I want to be consistent gigs here to ensure that I can come back to the team (Ireland) & # 39 ;, he says. "Hopefully to the Euro 2020 play-offs and possibly even a hero."
Had he listened to that sports day announcer, then Obafemi could still run with dreams about Toyko and beyond. But this is the course he has chosen and there is wind in his sails again.