The international break might be unpopular amongst supporters in the early stages of the season, yet the stop in domestic football can prove to be a good measuring stick for how well players are really doing at club level.
And for Shane Long, this season has proven to be nothing but miserable for the former Hull City man as the 32-year-old striker has been unable to make an impact in the first-team, with numbers from Transfermarkt showing that the attacker has played just 51 minutes of football.
As a result, the Irish striker has found himself out of the Republic of Ireland international squad for a second time this season as reported by The Irish Times, and unless something miraculous happens, it seems likely that Long will remain out of Mick McCarthy’s side for the foreseeable future.
Indeed, it’s a damming statement to see Long excluded from the Ireland national team for a second time in a row, with the Southampton man making 82 appearances in total his country as numbers from Transfermarkt show, yet his exclusion show just how far the attacker has fallen in recent years.
As numbers from Transfermarkt show, Long has only scored 10 Premier League goal over the past four seasons, a truly awful record for a striker playing in the English top-flight and an even more embarrassing stat when you factor in that the Irishman has played just over 100 games during that spell.
Long has never been the most consistent of strikers, with Dream Team FC revealing that the attacker scored just twice in the span of 44 Premier League games, and this latest set back with the national team only goes to prove how poor the Irish international has truly been over the past few months.
The Saint attacker might hold the Premier League record for the fastest goal ever scored, but Long’s run as a striker in the division as well as with the national team appears to be over, and it is something that has seemingly been waiting to happen for a while.