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Dublin: 7°C Monday 19 April 2021

Højbjerg stripped of captaincy and Long rated doubtful for Southampton's return

An injury looks set to rule the Ireland striker out of Friday night’s game at Norwich City.

Southampton striker Shane Long.
Southampton striker Shane Long.
Image: PA

SHANE LONG MAY have to sit out Southampton’s game against Norwich City at Carrow Road, where James Ward-Prowse will take the captain’s armband from Saints team-mate Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Long, who was rewarded with a two-year contract extension by the Premier League club earlier this month, is carrying an injury ahead of his club’s first competitive fixture in 103 days.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has rated the 33-year-old Ireland striker as doubtful for Friday’s game in Norwich, but he’s confident of having the Tipperary native available for the visit of Arsenal to St Mary’s the following Thursday.

“With Longy, who has had a muscle problem, he’s back training with the group but maybe this week is too early,” Hasenhüttl said today. “We’ll see. Next week might be better for him.”

Meanwhile, the Southampton boss has confirmed that he has taken the captaincy from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, who spoke recently of his desire to move on and play at a higher level with a club challenging for Premier League and Champions League titles.

The 24-year-old Danish international, who was made captain by Hasenhüttl in December 2018, has a year remaining on his Southampton contract.

“No, he will not be captain,” Hasenhüttl said of the former Bayern Munich midfielder. “I spoke with him and we had an agreement, and I made clear that if you decide not to extend your contract, you will not be captain of this team.

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“I’ve spoken to him in the last few days and he knows that he is an important player for this club. I think we have found a good agreement.” 

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Paul Dollery

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