50 days from Ireland's opening game of Euro 2016 and Shane Long's confidence is exactly where Martin O'Neill would like it to be - it's high, maybe higher than it's ever been.
On Saturday, Long scored his ninth of the Premier League season as Southampton beat Aston Villa 4-2. It's the most he has ever managed in English football's top tier.
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 23, 2016
Not only did Long score against Villa, he also set up two for Dusan Tadic. That's four assists in his last four games.
So elevated is Long's confidence, he apologised to Ronald Koeman after yesterday's game - for not scoring enough. Right now, he's an individual who believes he is capable of much more.
Koeman told the Southern Daily Echo:
In general of course positive because he is working hard, he is doing well and creating a lot of problems to the defenders.
He apologised himself after the game that he wasn’t scoring more goals than one.
That’s I think a good mentality because he had some good chances to score.
He apologised to the manager. That’s good.
He knows by himself he had more opportunities to score goals. That’s what I like.
I never complain to a player who is working hard and doing everything.
It’s part of the job missing chances.
The Southampton manager also hailed Long's movement.
He’s doing great.
He’s always the player with good movements and he’s fast. It was a great header from a fantastic cross from Ryan Bertrand.
Then he got two assists more in front, but he also had more chances to score.
But he’s working hard, he is doing well and he is creating a lot of problems to the defenders.