It’s fair to say that the name Shane Long splits the Southampton fanbase.
The 31-year-old has never had the most prolific of strike rates for a forward, but few can argue against the Republic of Ireland’s work rate or commitment when it comes to putting the yards in.
Since arriving at St Mary’s Stadium from Hull City for a reported £12million back in the summer of 2014, Long has 90 starting appearances to his name, with a further 78 showings from the substitutes bench – the return has only been 28 goals though.
With Manolo Gabbiadini being moved on this window, Long more than played his part in our victory last weekend against Leicester City, winning the penalty and hitting our second on the day and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was full of praise for his efforts as he spoke to the Daily Echo following the match.
“I think Shane was the best example of what we were demanding for today. Hard working, good defending and if you get the chance to kill them then do it. I know Shane has not the best finishing or didn’t score so much last time but in the Premier League before he has scored ten or 12 times. I want to bring him back in this shape like Reddy (Redmond) did when he scored.”
With it being his first goal in nine odd months it should certainly give him a confidence boost, but for now at least it seems Hasenhuttl appreciates the other side of his game and will give him the chance to have a new lease of life under his charge.