Long wants 'big' manager
Shane Long has praised the impact of Roy Hodgson at West Brom and believes a big-name replacement is needed to keep them progressing.
Last Updated: 09/05/12 1:31pm
West Brom striker Shane Long has praised the impact of departing boss Roy Hodgson and believes a big name replacement is needed in order to keep the club progressing.
Hodgson moved to The Hawthorns in February 2011 with the Baggies struggling at the foot of the Premier League after losing 13 of their previous 18 matches in all competitions.
However, he quickly turned their fortunes around, the club losing just twice in 12 games to finish the season in 11th - their highest finish for nearly 30 years.
He has guided them to a similarly comfortable position this season and was approached by England last week to take charge of the national team at the end of the campaign.
Long, who moved from Reading last summer, cites Hodgson as one of the main reasons he joined the club and the driving force behind their impressive results over the past 18 months.
The Republic of Ireland striker believes it is vital the Baggies appoint a big name to replace the 64-year-old in order to keep their best players and maintain their upward trajectory in the Premier League.
"For me he's the main reason that the club has kicked on in the last two years," the 25-year-old told the Express and Star.
"He came in and the players were struggling against relegation last year and they eventually finished 11th. It's no coincidence that we're in the top ten this year.
"He's turned us into a stable club in the Premier League that are looking up rather than looking down.
"He's one of the people who has made a difference and he has kept players that probably could have moved on. Because of the name he is, he's kept them.
"West Brom is a big club with a big fanbase and so we need a big manager."
Despite the European Championship looming Hodgson has one more game as West Brom boss to worry about against Arsenal at The Hawthorns on Sunday.
Victory would clinch a 10th place finish - their best top-flight performance since finishing fourth in 1980-81 - and Long has called on the players to secure the points as a tribute to their outgoing manager.
"We owe it to the gaffer and to ourselves to finish the season on a high," he added.
"We've worked hard all season to get into the position we are in and we need to keep looking up and pick up points at every opportunity.
"We always knew it was going to be difficult to keep him when the England job came up for grabs and there's no-one more deserving than him to get it.
"It's a great privilege for him to take his country into the Euros and it's obviously a great loss to us, but I think the fans understand his decision.
"It's been a pleasure playing under Roy and I'm a better player for it because I've learned a lot of new things.
"I think he deserves the credit and appreciation of the supporters for the changes he's made at West Brom."