Shane Long has been rewarded for tremendous recent form by being shortlisted for April's Premier League Player of the Month award.
With the season rapidly coming to an end, the Tipperary man has gone on a late surge, netting four goals in his last five matches for Southampton. As a result of Long's productivity in front of goals the Saints have ensured their safety in the division for at least another season.
Long made history last month when his goal against Watford, after just 7.69 seconds, went down as the fastest goal ever to be scored in the Premier League, beating the previous record held by Ledley King since 2000.
The Irishman is joined on the eight-man shortlist by Liverpool's Jordan Henderson and Mo Salah, Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Manchester City's Aymeric Laporte, Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, Newcastle United's Ayoze Pérez and Burnley's Chris Wood. No Irish player has won the accolade since the 2007 season when Robbie Keane won his last award.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) April 26, 2019
The 32-year-old's recent form will be welcomed by Irish fans with two vital European Championships qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar just around the corner in June.
Speaking to the FAI website during the week, the Republic of Ireland manager, Mick McCarthy spoke of Long's encouraging displays of late.
The Ireland fans used to sing that Shane Long was on fire, well he is now so they can get the song ready again.
I am delighted to see him scoring but just as happy that Shane is back in the Southampton team and playing on a regular basis. It’s his fitness as much as his goal-scoring that pleases me because I know he was frustrated when that injury forced him to return home after just a couple of days with us in March...
Shane is a really effective centre-forward. These goals will just give him a real lift and boost his confidence coming back into our squad and that can only be good news with the training camp in Portugal and two big games on the horizon.