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'Everybody loves him, and nobody likes to play against him' - Southampton boss hails resurgent Long

Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has been delighted with the Ireland striker’s input in recent weeks.

Long and Leicester's Ricardo Pereira during last week's game at the King Power Stadium.
Long and Leicester's Ricardo Pereira during last week's game at the King Power Stadium.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

SOUTHAMPTON MANAGER RAPHL Hasenhüttl has sung Shane Long’s praises after his recent performances. 

The Ireland striker appeared to be out in the cold at the Saints earlier this season, but he has returned to the starting line-up over the past month to become the perfect foil for in-form strike partner Danny Ings. 

Tipperary native Long has three assists in his past six Premier League appearances and set up Stuart Armstrong in last weekend’s 2-1 win away to high-flying Leicester City. 

Southampton have climbed to 12th in the table and the 32-year-old, who has not been included in Mick McCarthy’s Ireland squads of late, is playing a significant role in their upturn in fortunes. 

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Wolves at St Mary’s, the club’s German manager hailed Long’s input. 

“Shane Long is a really important player for us,” Hasenhüttl said, during today’s press conference.

“He is one of the quickest players in the Premier League, I think. He’s not the youngest, but is still an unbelievably good guy who is really working hard for the team. Everybody loves him, nobody likes to play against him because he is always working and fighting.

“Last week, he had a big battle against [Caglar] Söyüncü and it was tough for him but he is a really important player for us in this moment.  

“We also know that he needs to get a rest sometimes, but as long as he’s fit he can help us massively.”

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leicester-city-v-southampton-premier-league-king-power-stadium Hugging Danny Ings after their win over the Foxes. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

“He’s not a typical wall player,” he added. “He’s more a guy who can run a lot but is still strong in aerial duels, he wins the ball and that is the reason why he is playing even if he’s not scoring all the time. 

He can jump unbelievably high and what I like is that he knows exactly when it’s time to go off, because sometimes it’s not so easy to see in the Premier League — everybody wants to play to the end. 

“But you can feel it, he is not resting with his energy. He tries to leave everything on the pitch and when the times comes, his arm rises and this is helpful for me.”

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Ben Blake

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