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Long road to become a saint begins

SHANE Long has already set his sights on a debut goal this weekend at Anfield - a happy hunting ground for the Tipperary lad in the past - following his £12.5million move to Southampton.

Long (27) admits that he has been taken aback by the speed of events which saw him begin the week as a Hull City player preparing for Hull's Premier League game away to QPR tomorrow but instead he's heading to Anfield for Southampton's Sunday meeting with Liverpool.

Southmapton yesterday confirmed that they had completed the signing of the Ireland star, Hull making a £5million profit on a player who only moved there in January.

"I am delighted to be here," said Long, who sealed the move following a day of talks at Southmapton yesterday.

"I was preparing for QPR away with Hull on Monday but I got the phone call to say that Southampton's bid had been accepted, so I was allowed come down and speak to the club.

"Once I saw the training facilities and met the manager my mind was made up, it wasn't an easy decision as Hull were very good to me but for me and my family it seemed like the right decision and I am delighted to get it done.

"Opening day at Anfield is a big day in anyone's calendar, and our first home game is West Brom, a real personal one for me.

"I have managed to score two or three goals at Anfield before, one with Reading aand a couple with West Brom so I enjoy playing there, and it's not hard to get yourself up for that game, it will be hard for us against a great Liverpool side but I am confident we can cause an upset," added Long, who admitted his regret at leaving Hull just eight months after joining.


"It was a hard decision for me to make, but when you come down to Southampton you see how big a club it is and how well set up it is," Long says.

"You look at how well they did last season and they are developing a new squad for this year to try and achieve those accomplishments again, and hopefully I can be a big part of that.

"Southampton play a brand of football that's enjoyable to watch, and I'm sure it'll be enjoyable to play in as well. I think the formation they play will suit me, and the manager has a lot of knowledge about football and I'm looking to learn off him.

"In theory it's a very good move for me, but all the hard work starts when I get on the training pitch because I have to prove my worth."