Shane longs to make his mark
Shane Long emerged from an X-rated encounter with Macedonia defender Boban Grncharov confident he is ready to make his mark on the international stage.
The Ireland striker was left with a painful reminder of his night's work at the Aviva Stadium when he needed three stitches after Grncharov planted his studs firmly into the side of the Reading man's head as he jumped for a high ball.
Long, who replaced the injured Kevin Doyle just 20 minutes into Saturday night's 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifier victory, said: "I have been waiting for my chance for a long time now and every chance I get, I want to try to make the most of it."
He added: "Kevin is going to be a big loss and they are going to be big boots to fill, but if I do get the nod, I am going to relish it.
"Up until the end of last year, I was more or less a substitute player [at Reading] coming on and trying to make a difference.
"Starting games makes a big difference to your game. It has added a lot to me.
"I am still learning every day, I am not naive about it a all, but playing 90 minutes every week does help and when you meet up with the international team, you feel on top of your game."
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni suggested Doyle could be sidelined for up to two months, which would come as a huge blow to his club Wolves as they battle to retain their Barclays Premier League status.
It could also threaten his participation in the Carling Nations Cup clashes with Northern Ireland and Scotland in May just a week before the return with Macedonia, and that might hand Long against Uruguay an opportunity he is confident he is ready to take.