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'He's back where we need him to be' - Mick McCarthy ready to bring Shane Long back for Slovakia clash

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Shane Long could return for Ireland's Euro 2020 playoff clash in Slovakia. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Shane Long could return for Ireland's Euro 2020 playoff clash in Slovakia. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

REUTERS

Shane Long could return for Ireland's Euro 2020 playoff clash in Slovakia. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Mick McCarthy says that Shane Long is pushing for a recall to the Ireland squad on the back of his form with Southampton.

Long (33) has not played for Ireland under McCarthy and has even failed to make it into the squad for most of his reign but the Ireland boss went to see Long play for the Saints against Burnley last weekend and came away impressed, McCarthy also taking time to scout Portsmouth man Ronan Curtis.

"Shane looked fit against Burnley, he's got that athleticism back and the sharpness that comes with playing regular first team football. It was a tough old game but he was right there in the middle of it," McCarthy told the FAI website.

"He was competitive throughout the game and he's back where we need him to be to push for a place on the plane to Slovakia which is good news while Ronan is making his claim for the play-off as well.

"He didn't score against Shrewsbury but you could see how confident he is at the minute. He's on top form with Pompey and he did well on Saturday, as did Marcus Harness who may well feature for us in the future."

The Republic's boss also said he will wait before ruling Ciaran Clark out of the Euro 2020 playoff in Slovakia after he picked up a knock in Newcastle United's loss to Arsenal, Clark joining James McClean on the injured list.

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Mick McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Mick McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Mick McCarthy. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"I sent Ciaran a text on Monday wishing him well and assuring him, as we did with James McClean when he got injured last week, that we will give him all the time he needs to get fit for Slovakia," added McCarthy.

"Like with James, we have to wait for Ciaran's injury to settle down before we know the full prognosis. The game in Bratislava is still five weeks away on Thursday and I will give both players as long as I can.

"You just don't know at first with these injuries. I've seen everything from two weeks to eight weeks for James' recovery so I will check in with him again later this week and see how he is doing."

Online Editors