Saints youngster Michael Obafemi was called-up to the Republic of Ireland to ward off interest from Nigeria.

Obafemi was a shock inclusion in Martin O’Neill’s provisional squad for the games against Northern Ireland and Denmark during the international break.

And O’Neill confirmed that one of the reasons for the striker’s inclusion was to stop him being courted by Nigeria.

O’Neill said: “It would be ridiculous of me to say that wouldn’t be a part of that.

"I spoke to young Jimmy Dunne, he was delighted with the call and I think he genuinely wants to play for us and that’s important.

"I was less concerned about Obafemi, I think his desire is to play for us at the end of it all.

"I’ve known from the past that even players involved in a 36/37-man squad always get a lift from that.“