After a fairly torrid start to the season, Southampton have suddenly found themselves sitting in the relative comfort of 12th place in the Premier League. Many assumed that the 9-0 loss to Leicester would spell the end of Ralph Hasenhüttl's time in charge but the board's decision to show some patience is now paying dividends.
One man who has played a key part is Shane Long. Having found himself out of favour early in the season, he is now an important player in Southampton team.
His manager certainly shares that opinion. Hasenhüttl feels he brings plenty to the side, acting as the perfect foil to Danny Ings.
Shane Long is a really important player for us.
He’s doing so well for us, he’s always there, working so hard and he’s so well-liked by the squad.
He wants to play to the end and you can feel he’s not resting with his energy on the pitch, he wants to leave everything out there on the pitch.
And it’s a massive help for me because he’s never saving energy, he’s giving everything knowing that he will be spent when he comes off.
Long has found himself out of favour under Mick McCarthy, failing to make the last couple of Ireland squads. He will surely be part of the upcoming Euro 2020 playoffs, with the Tipperary native displaying the type of form that only David McGoldrick can currently match. He has certainly done more this season than some members of the squad.