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Long looks for starting spot

Shane Long is determined to win a four-way battle for the right to partner Ireland skipper Robbie Keane at Euro 2012.

West Brom striker Long, club-mate Simon Cox, Wolves counterpart Kevin Doyle and Stoke's Jon Walters are the men fighting to catch manager Giovanni Trapattoni's eye ahead of the opening game of the tournament against Croatia in Poznan on June 10.

Long said: "There are five us now fighting for that position. I think Robbie is very secure in his place, and deservedly so, and there are four of us fighting for the other position. I'd like to think I am in the frame, in the manager's mind, and I have to try to convince him over the few friendlies before we get to the Euros that I am good enough to play alongside him."

The competition between the four men is intense, although Long insists that whoever gets the nod will have the full backing of those who miss out.

He said: "We are all fairly close. Myself and Kevin are close off the pitch and we don't really talk about it.

"Whoever plays is going to get the full support of the other three, and that's the way it should be.

"He [Trapattoni] is obviously a very experienced manager and he is not afraid to change it up when he needs to.

"I think he has confidence in each one of the five strikers that play."


From Belfast Telegraph