Wednesday 13 December 2017

'I hope you stay at Southampton' - Young Irish fan writes letter to Shane Long asking him not to leave

Shane Long celebrates a goal for Southampton. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Shane Long celebrates a goal for Southampton. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

Tom Rooney

Since January the perpetual whirl of speculation linking Shane Long with a move away from Southampton has refused to dissipate, but at the request of one Irish young fan, the striker might now be compelled to stay put.

Without question, last season was the most fruitful of Shane Long’s career, both in terms of goals and performances.

After netting that incredible winner against Germany at the Aviva Stadium, the Tipp man went from strength to strength.

He finished the campaign with a career best 15 goals for the Saints, as well as four assists. During the winter transfer window, the 29-year-old was reported to be a target of Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

That Pochettino was seen talking to his agent, Pat Dolan, at the Aviva before the Euros, only fanned the flames of the anticipation.

Most recently, it’s been said he could be tempted to join former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman at Everton, where the Dutch coach has replaced Roberto Martinez.

After losing Sadio Mane to Liverpool, Southampton’s fans probably wouldn’t take kindly to Long’s departure.

However, one young Corkonian has personally written to Long in an attempt to keep him on the English south coast.

8-year-old Stephen Delaney penned a lovely letter to the Irish attacker asking if was happy at St Mary's and requesting that he doesn’t follow Koeman and Mane.

It read:

“Hi. Shane. You are my favourite soccer player. I love your celebrations when you score a goal. If I was a soccer player when I grow up I might do the same celebrations. I'm glad you liked the photo of me and you. I hope you stay at Southampton.

“My dad is annoyed that Koeman left and went to Everton. I hope it's okay being with them because I hope you stay at Southampton.”

Stephen’s Dad, Terence, posted the letter to Long on Twitter with a picture of the former Reading player and the youngster when they met.

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