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Long not fazed by uncertain future

Ireland striker Shane Long returned from his latest international adventure uncertain over where he will be playing next season.

The 24-year-old Reading frontman took out his frustration over starting Saturday night's Euro 2012 qualifier in Macedonia on the bench on Italy defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Alessandro Gamberini as Ireland further enhanced their growing reputation with a famous friendly win in Liege.

On his future, Long said: "I don't know, we'll see what happens, really. I am just going to take a few weeks out now and relax and if anything does come my way, I'll have a look at it. We'll see what happens."

Asked about the reported interest in him and Reading manager Brian McDermott's assessment of the situation, Long replied: "They have to come in first, so we will see what happens.

"But as it stands, I am a Reading player and I am looking forward to a Reading season unless that changes over the next few weeks.

"It's been a long season at Reading. We finished on a bit of a down, but it was good for me. I played over 50 games last season and I learnt a lot.

"I am looking forward to next season, but all the same, a few weeks out will be nice."

Long's emergence as a genuine candidate for a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's starting line-up has been one of the major pluses of the last 12 months or so, although with West Brom's Simon Cox and Stoke's Jon Walters all pushing hard behind skipper Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle, competition for places is intense.

However, while that may make his task all the more difficult - Cox got the nod in Macedonia when many expected Long to deputise for the injured Doyle - he knows that can only be a good thing for his country.

The striker said: "There is competition for places up front and it improves the people who are playing because they know if they don't do it on the pitch, they are going to be replaced by someone who is raring to go. It's a nice problem for the manager to have and hopefully we are in his thoughts for the next two games."

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