Long vows to push for place
Striker Shane Long is ready to fight Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle all the way for a spot in Giovanni Trapattoni's Euro 2012 team.
Last Updated: 28/05/12 11:04am
Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long is ready to fight Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle all the way for a spot in Giovanni Trapattoni's Euro 2012 team.
The 25-year-old West Brom frontman stated his case eloquently on Saturday when he came off the bench to head the Republic to a 1-0 friendly victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium.
Trapattoni has already indicated that, provided everyone is fit, he will start with his tried and trusted team against Croatia in Poznan on June 10th, and that more often than not has seen Doyle partner skipper Keane in attack.
However, Long, like fellow frontmen Jon Walters and Simon Cox, will spend the next fortnight trying to persuade the 73-year-old Italian that they should be in the starting line-up.
He said: "There are a lot of players in the squad, 23 of us, playing for 11 positions on the pitch.
"But there are three of us on the bench who are worthy to come on as a striker, so when we do get our chance to push Kevin and Robbie for their place, we have got to take it.
"I think myself and Jon Walters put ourselves about well and put our case in the manager's head."
Long's goal, the seventh of his senior international career, came from Aiden McGeady's 78th-minute cross as the Spartak Moscow man, who was introduced as a half-time substitute, turned in an impressive individual display in response to the threat posed by emerging talent James McClean.
The striker said: "It was just a brilliant Aiden McGeady cross. I have played with him for a while now at international level and I know once he gets to the by-line, he is going to try to hang it up.
"It was nice to get on the end of it and get a goal to my name."
McClean started on the left and he and McGeady swapped wings during the second half, and both caused problems.
McGeady and Damian Duff are likely to get the nod in Poland, but Long would be happy to play alongside either man.
He said: "They both like to dribble with the ball and get at players, and it's nice when you are a striker, whoever is on the wing, to know what's coming.
"With those two, it's get at the full-backs and put a cross into the box. As strikers, they are the best [kind of] wingers to have."