'I'm Happy That I Didn't Play Against Shane Long'

'I'm Happy That I Didn't Play Against Shane Long'
By PJ Browne

In his playing career, Ronald Koeman was known as a classy defender. He played for Ajax, PSV and Barcelona among others along with amassing 78 caps for the Netherlands.

Koeman retired nearly 20 years ago. For that he is happy, it means he never had to face Shane Long as a player.

Ahead of Southampton's game with Spurs on Sunday, the Dutch manager told the media:

I am happy that I played before Shane was playing as a striker.

I think I remember when Shane came I think in all aspects of football he learn a lot.

We did a lot with Shane in a lot of aspects of football, and I think he is more complete as a player, as a striker, and his pace, his timing, his movements are full of confidence.

That’s a big example that you can learn still when you are 26 or 27 or 28. You can learn every day.

For me that’s one of the biggest examples of how a player can develop with the help of coaches, and that is nice to see.

Long is playing the best football of his career right now. He has scored more goals than ever in the Premier League this season - it's all good news for Martin O'Neill as we near Euro 2016.

Koeman believes the training which Long has received at Southampton has had along to do with his recent form and improvement as a player.

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He was really excited to come to Southampton. I remember when I spoke to Shane about training sessions I asked him what he did before and our training sessions are a little bit different to the typical English style.

You see that every player can develop and I think he is more complete as a striker.

His first touch is much better, his movements in the box is clever, he’s a very good header.

He makes it so difficult to the defenders because he’s always on the run, on the move.

I know as a centre back that’s very difficult.

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

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[Southern Daily Echo]

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