Shane Long thrilled to get chance to captain Republic of Ireland
West Brom striker Shane Long is honoured to have been named captain of the Republic of Ireland for the first time.
Last Updated: 02/06/13 8:43am
The 26-year-old will take the armband on his 36th apperance for his country after coach Giovanni Trapattoni opted to field a team showing nine changes from the one that drew 1-1 with England on Wednesday.
Long scored Ireland's goal in that game, and he said being named captain was the perfect end to a memorable week.
"I didn't think the week could get any better after Wednesday night," Long said.
"It was obviously a great thing for me to score at Wembley, but I think the biggest honour you can get is to captain your country and I was delighted to get the nod from the gaffer.
"The boss kept the team close to his chest. He asked how many caps I had - and I might have exaggerated a little bit.
"But he told me I was the most-capped player and he me wanted to lead the team out on Sunday, and obviously it is a personal highlight for me.
"It's the first time I have been captain in my senior career, so I am really excited. In underage football, I got the captaincy quite a bit, but I have always been the young one in every squad so far, so it's nice to get the nod.
"It kind of came up fairly quickly on me. I have been squad long time, I suppose, I have been with the lads a long time. I always dreamt of this day coming, so I am delighted it's finally here.
"Normally, I'm fairly quiet on the pitch, but I think this will be different and I will be trying to help out the team as best I can."