Doyle backs 'confident' Long to rediscover his best
Kevin Doyle believes Shane Long still has plenty to offer Mick McCarthy and Ireland.
Doyle admits that his former team-mate with Cork City, Reading and Ireland has been through some challenging times, but after scoring his 50th Premier League goal in Southampton's defeat against Liverpool, he feels the Tipperary man still has plenty to offer.
That goal was Long's first in three months but he's going through a painful drought at international level: 12 appearances and two and a half years since Long last scored for his country (against Moldova).
"I remember, when I went 10 games without a goal, every interview, I was going 'Ah, no, another question about this,'" Doyle said.
"So, I can only imagine what it was like for Shane - it was a nightmare for me.
"Shane has kept quiet, he's just got on with it, He didn't look to be hiding, it was just a horrible run of form, where it didn't go his way. And hopefully, that will change.
"He hasn't had a good year and a half, since the Euros really, I think that will be a big weight off his shoulders, his 50th Premier League goal.
"Reaching a milestone like that, what an achievement and that will have to give you confidence.
"You would hope that he would have a strong end to the season.
"That must be a great confidence-booster, starting against Liverpool, who are one of the two best teams in the Premier League, and scoring.
"I always felt when Shane had confidence and was playing well, he was as good as any striker."