Long Looking To Impress
Republic of Ireland international striker Shane Long has said he's looking for a run of games to impress new manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
Having largely been limited to appearances off the bench under the new gaffer with his preferred one up front option, Long did get the shout ahead of Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini to make his first start of the year in the victory over Crystal Palace in our last match, but obviously the 30 year old has admitted to some frustration.
However he's experienced enough to know he has to keep his head down and work hard and then take the opportunities to impress when they come.
Speaking to the Daily Echo he explained.
'For me personally hopefully I can get a run of games now and pick up a bit of form. I felt like I did well against Palace, but the more games I`ll play the more confident I`ll be and the more goals I`ll score.'
'It`s been frustrating. The gaffer`s got a few options upfront with me, Gabbi and Charlie. He likes to play one striker so someone will be frustrated, but I`ve just kept my head down, trained hard and tried to prove my point. I`m just waiting for my chance to come. Against Palace I feel like I played well, but I didn`t get that goal, so the next game I`ll try and put that right and kick on.'
With goalscoring problems across the board, Long knew in his case with him yet to find the net it's about getting a run in the team so he can hit some real form.
'For me it`s all about game time. Goals come with game time. I remember my Reading days even I think I scored one in 13 but finished with 25 goals by the end of the season. The manager kept playing me and giving me that chance and that confidence makes a big difference for a striker. Hopefully Pellegrino will be happy with me today and I can now get a run of two, three, four games in the team and the goals will come.'
'That comes with a run of games - that confidence that you`re going to play every week. In saying that, if you go three or four games without scoring you have to hold your hands up when you get dropped and say 'fair enough`. But I feel like I`m playing well and the chances will come. I`ve been scoring in training, I`ve been flying on the pitch. It`s just a matter of time.'
With all the strikers struggling for goals at the moment, Long knew that would simply drive each of them to put themselves in the position where they were first to be called on.
'There is that competition there. We`ve got three very good options there and you know if you`re not on your game and not doing it during the week that there`s somebody ready and willing to come in and take your place and you know theyve got ability. So you`ve got to take your chance when you`ve got it. We struggled the last few games and the gaffer thought a change was needed. But Gabbi`s an unbelievable goalscorer and Charlie has proved himself too. That competition is still there and the manager will play what he think is best against the opposition we`re playing. I`ve just got to keep my head down, train all week and try and keep my place in the team. But whoever does play I`ll be fully supportive of.'