Sport Soccer

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Keane pep talk inspired double, reveals Long

Shane Long
Shane Long
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SHANE LONG has revealed that words of wisdom from Roy Keane contributed to his brilliant brace for West Brom against Aston Villa on Monday night.

The Tipperary man said that new Ireland assistant Keane took him to one side during the recent international gathering and encouraged him to be more selfish in front of goal.

Long remembered the Corkman's advice ahead of the midlands derby where his high-quality strikes earned widespread praise and piled the pressure on West Brom to offer him a new deal. It was the first time that the player had scored more than once in a Premier League game and he has acknowledged that his overall record must improve.

"When I was away with Ireland, Roy said: 'You need to be more greedy, take more shots on and don't look for that pass rather than taking that chance yourself,'" explained the 26-year-old.

"That stayed with me. You get in these positions; where someone else might be in a better position, but you have a good chance of scoring yourself and, more often than not, I'll try to set up the other person. I don't want to be one of those greedy strikers, but, ultimately, you do get marked up on how many goals you score."

Long expanded on Keane's early influence on the Irish camp ahead of tonight's Premier League trip to Newcastle. He confessed to being one of the squad members that was slightly wary of the No 2 after hearing tales of his intimidating reputation.

"You hear stories about what (Keane) was like, but in my eyes he was always a legend and an idol of mine. So, I was a bit afraid to meet him, because people say don't meet your idols," added Long.

"But I wasn't disappointed. He's a really nice man as well as really professional. He has got that reputation that kind of scares players a little bit. We were doing shooting before the Latvia game, where you just set each other up, but then Roy came in and started setting us up for shots.

"Everyone was saying: 'I'd better hit the target here.' We started hitting them in the top corner and the 'keeper was thinking: 'What's going on?' So, I think Roy will be a positive influence with things like that, because you know that – I don't know how else to say this – he won't take any s**t. He'll expect the best."

Long nearly joined Hull in the summer and his exploits against Villa alerted a number of potential suitors, but he indicated that he would be content to stay in his current home. He is settled in the area and has a second child on the way.

"Happiness counts for a lot, and I'm happy here," he said. "The fans are always singing about me, the lads are great, I like playing for the manager, I'm settled with my family, we've already planned for my daughter (Teigan) to go to school here next year, so life's good at the moment."

Newcastle v West Brom,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 5.30

Irish Independent

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