Long loving international spotlight

30 March 2011 04:30

Shane Long's hunger to learn his trade has only been increased by his emergence as a genuine international footballer.

The Republic of Ireland striker scored his sixth goal in 19 senior appearances for his country in Tuesday night's 3-2 friendly defeat by World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay, and was also instrumental in winning the penalty which led to his side's second.

Long said: "They came fourth in the World Cup, so they are a very good side. One of the lads said nine of the players who started in the semi-final played again on Tuesday night, so they are obviously a quality side. They had two good centre-backs, so it was a big learning curve for me."

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni employed the 24-year-old frontman as a lone striker after being impressed by his performance as a replacement for the injured Kevin Doyle in Saturday's 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Macedonia, and was again delighted with his efforts.

Long admits he has benefited from being a regular in the Reading starting line-up this season, and his 18 npower Championship goals to date are testament to his blossoming potency.

The former Cork City player is learning by the week, and his brush with Uruguay was an opportunity to test just how far he has come.

Long added: "I am learning every day and 90 minutes every week is helping me progress. Tuesday's game is only going to add to that.

"They were good defenders. They knew what they were doing and could buy a foul as well, so it was a bit tough up there.

"But I gave as good as I got and I would like to think I caused them a bit of trouble."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0