Long hoping to catch Trapattoni's eye
Shane Long has warned Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle he will push them all the way as he attempts to snatch a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's Euro 2012 team.
The 25-year-old West Brom striker stated his case eloquently on Saturday when he came off the bench to head Ireland to a 1-0 friendly victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium. Trapattoni has indicated that, provided everyone is fit, he will start with his tried and trusted team - usually Doyle partnering skipper Keane in attack.
Long will spend the next fortnight trying to persuade him otherwise. He said: "There are a lot of players in the squad, 23 of us, playing for 11 positions on the pitch. But there are three of us on the bench who are worthy to come on as a striker, so when we do get our chance to push Kevin and Robbie for their place, we have got to take it.
Long, and fellow frontmen Jon Walters and Simon Cox, want to convince the 73-year-old Italian that they should be in the starting line-up for Ireland against Croatia in Poznan on June 10.
He said: "I think myself and Jon Walters put ourselves about well and put our case in the manager's head."
Long's goal, the seventh of his senior international career, came from Aiden McGeady's 78th-minute cross as the Spartak Moscow man, who was introduced as a half-time substitute, turned in an impressive individual display in response to the threat posed by emerging talent James McClean.
The striker said: "It was just a brilliant Aiden McGeady cross. I have played with him for a while now at international level and I know once he gets to the by-line, he is going to try to hang it up. It was nice to get on the end of it and get a goal to my name."
McClean started on the left and he and McGeady swapped wings during the second half, and both caused problems. McGeady and Damian Duff are likely to get the nod in Poland, but Long would be happy to play alongside either man.
He said: "They both like to dribble with the ball and get at players, and it's nice when you are a striker, whoever is on the wing, to know what's coming.
"With those two, it's get at the full-backs and put a cross into the box. As strikers, they are the best [kind of] wingers to have."