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Long due recall after goal spree


Shane Long. Pic: Reuters

Shane Long. Pic: Reuters

Shane Long. Pic: Reuters

Shane Long has played himself into contention for an Ireland recall, after 16 months in exile, on the back of his club form.

Enda Stevens will also give Mick McCarthy a boost for next month's Euro 2020 play-off by recovering from the injury which had made him a concern.

Long scored for Southampton in their weekend win over Aston Villa, the 55th goal of his Premier League career which puts him in third place in the all-time Irish scorers' list.

Saints boss Ralf Hassenhuttl, who praised Ireland U19 cap Will Smallbone on his Premier League debut, hailed a "fantastic" Long.

"He showed again that he can score for us and that he works hard for us".

Long admitted last week that omission from the Irish squad under McCarthy was "hard to take" but his form - three goals in six games - will force McCarthy to name Long in his squad for the first time.

Stevens was substituted at half time in Sheffield United's draw with Brighton but boss Chris Wilder eased fears over his fitness, saying: "Hopefully he'll be okay."