With three goals in his last four matches, Southampton and Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long has been taking the headlines lately.
Scoring in the midweek clash with Watford at Vicarage Road, Long set a new fastest ever Premier League goal record and he’d only recently become the fourth Republic player to score 50 times in the top flight.
Plenty of changes to the playing staff are expected over the summer as manager Ralph Hasenhuttl continues his rebuild of the club, and come the summer Long is into the final 12 months of his contract. Not only is his form well timed on a club front as we look to ensure we are mathematically safe from relegation this season, but on a personal front it could have a bearing on his own future.
Speaking to the Daily Echo this week to discuss his future, Long was focused on his form only but clearly he’d like to stay if he can, given his words.
“I think with the last four or five performances I’ve put in, there have been some good ones in there. I have only got a year left on my contract and I don’t think I’ve earned the right to go knocking on the door and asking for more years. I think the club is an amazing club and the people here like the way I approach the game, the way I train and the way I am in the dressing room.”
Obviously, the goal question comes up given his overall record.
“As a striker you need goals and I am trying to put my case forward between now and the end of the season. Everyone knows I love it here and I know next season is going to be a big season because of the confidence the manager has instilled around the place and I want to be a part of that. If it does come to it at the end of the season and I’m not wanted anymore, then I will still look back on my career at Southampton as a good time and something to be really proud of. It’s hard to validate giving a new deal out if you aren’t getting the goals or the results on the pitch. I am working as hard as I can to try and sway it in my direction and if it’s not to be then I will look to pastures new, but I don’t want that.”
Long did also comment that he was hoping that with three goals in his last four games that it was the ‘start of a big turnaround in my career’ and he’ll do his chances of getting some kind of extension no harm at all if he can become more of a one in three/four type of player.
Everyone knows what he brings to the pitch otherwise.