Sunday 18 February 2018

Long happy at West Brom

Shane Long scored 11 goals for West Brom this season
Shane Long scored 11 goals for West Brom this season

Striker Shane Long insists he is happy to stay at West Brom amid fresh speculation over his future.

The 26-year-old has often been the cause of transfer speculation and while he admits he will probably discuss his situation with manager Steve Clarke before pre-season training, he has no immediate plans to leave the club.

Long said: "I'm very happy there. The new manager has come in this year and he has really built a team that's very competitive in the Premier League."

He added: "There are a few lads up in the air about contracts and it will be interesting to see what happens over the summer.

"I fully intend to stay, I do like it there, but we will talk, probably in pre-season, about contract situations and see what happens. I have a year and an option, so probably two. I have still got two years left at West Brom, and that's what I am focusing on at the moment."

For much of last season, Long had to share striking duties with loan signing Romelu Lukaku as Clarke preferred to play with a lone striker. Lukaku was a big hit in the Black Country, finishing with 17 league goals and leaving Long to spend more time on the bench than he would have liked.

Even so, the Republic of Ireland international scored eight in the league and 11 in all competitions.

Long said: "I was doing well during a lot of season and the manager said to me at the end of the season he was very happy with how I had done. It was just with the build-up of games, he chose to rest me for one game and Romelu came in and scored a hat-trick, and it's hard to drop him again.

"We understood our roles. We shared the load up front. More than likely, we went with one striker and it was either me or him. Towards the end of the season, he started more and he scored a lot of goals. He's a fine player, so I just bided my time and when I did get my chance, I made sure I took it.

"A few times, I had scored one or two on the bounce and been rested for the third game, and that little flow of games could help over the season. I am still learning, I am still only 26. It's one of my best returns in the Premier League, last year, so hopefully I can build on that again this year."

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