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Ronald Koeman's Words Regarding Shane Long Will Be Music For Martin O'Neill's Ears

Ronald Koeman's Words Regarding Shane Long Will Be Music For Martin O'Neill's Ears
By PJ Browne Updated

It's four months until Ireland's opening game of Euro 2016 against Sweden.

What Martin O'Neill needs right now is his frontline players getting game time.

Shane Long has started 13 games for Southampton in the Premier League so far this season. In a trend which will hopefully continue until May, the striker has come into real favour with Ronald Koeman since late December.

Long has started the last nine consecutive league games for his side. That's despite the January acquisition of Charlie Austin.

Speaking to the Southern Daily Echo, the Southampton manager explained his rationale for Long being his preferred option right now.

I think he deserves to start because he’s working hard. He’s complaining defenders. He’s always on the move. He’s always running. He’s very dangerous.

That’s the reason every time I start with Shane. Okay, with the signing of Charlie we have big competition. Today, I had Charlie, I had Tadic, Mane on the bench.

But that’s what we really like to have because a strong squad makes progress and makes competition. Even if the decisions that I have to make are very difficult.

Every player needs to give the best of himself. For that he needs competition. That’s normal and we like to have this competition because this makes the team really strong.

Long scored his ninth of the season on Saturday, getting the winner - a typical Shane Long header - against Swansea. It was his fourth goal in his last nine league games.

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