Saturday 25 May 2019

Long aiming to extend his Saints stay

Shane Long is looking to extend his stay at Southampton. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
Shane Long is looking to extend his stay at Southampton. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Shane Long is hopeful that his return to form with Southampton can eventually trigger discussions on a new contract.

The 32-year-old has admitted that he was in no position to discuss his future during a lengthy barren spell.

He had scored just once in the space of a year before hitting three in his last four starts to make a case for more regular inclusion under Ralph Hasenhuttl, with Tuesday's strike at Watford in the record books as the fastest strike in Premier League history at seven seconds.

Remarkably, Long had struck just one goal for each of the previous three Saints managers - Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes. The Tipp man joined the Saints for €12m in August 2014 and his €60,000-a-week (€70,000) deal expires at the end of next season.

"I have only got a year left on my contract and I don't think I've earned the right to go knocking on the door and asking for more years," said Long.

"It's hard to validate giving a new deal out if you aren't getting the goals or the results. If it's not to be then I will look to pastures new, but I don't want that."

Long has made 23 league appearances for the Saints this term, yet he only started nine of those matches.

Mick McCarthy spoke in complimentary terms about the player this week, but Long's Irish career had also stalled of late with Martin O'Neill preferring other options.

Injury ruled Long out of McCarthy's opening double-header.

"People have been good because they know how hard I work for the team and for what I give to the team," Long continued.

"But when you are not scoring goals, it's hard. I am hoping it's the start of a big turnaround in my career."

Irish Independent

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