'I'd love to know how many games he started and finished' - Roy Keane tells Shane Long to examine club woes
Roy Keane believes that Shane Long needs to look in the mirror and ask himself if his problems at club level are self-inflicted.
But the Irish assistant says that he would trust the Southampton striker to be ready if called upon in Saturday's crunch World Cup qualifier with Georgia. Long has been restricted to three sub appearances for the Saints' this term and he only started ten Premier League matches last season with the 30-year-old largely restricted to the role of impact sub.
He is a contender to figure in Tbilisi with question marks over the fitness of Jon Walters, although Daryl Murphy is a serious contender too as he is match-sharp from regular games with Nottingham Forest.
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"It doesn't seem to be happening for Shane at Southampton at the moment but would that mean he'd be reluctant about starting on Saturday? Obviously not," said Keane yesterday.
"We know if he starts he'll do a good job like he always has done. I don't know his stats at Southampton but you ask any striker it's all about getting minutes on the pitch and putting the ball in the back of the net and he's not been doing that regularly enough.
"Obviously, Shane played under a lot of managers at West Brom and had a short stint at Hull. I'd love to know how many games he started and finished over the last five or six years.
"As much as we look at managers, I always say the player's got to look at himself. Look at the man in the mirror. Is he doing enough at club level in terms of training? I don't know. But when we have him for the week, he's fine, he gets on with it.
"But sometimes players do turn up and they do look as if they are short of kind of minutes under the belts. And maybe that can happen with Shane sometimes, yeah. But if he starts, I'm sure he'll do well for us."
Keane is hopeful Walters will train before tomorrow's flight to Georgia.