Ireland striker Shane Long has vowed to push his claims for a starting place at Euro 2012 after scoring the winning goal in Saturday’s friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Long, who came on as a substitute, headed the only goal of the game from Aiden McGeady’s cross with 12 minutes remaining. And the West Bromwich Albion player, who made his name at Reading, hopes his strike will help put pressure on Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle, manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s regular partnership up front as Ireland prepare to take on Croatia in Poznan on 10 June.
The 25-year-old said: “There are a lot of players in the squad - 23 of us - playing for 11 positions. 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. I think myself and Jon Walters put ourselves about well and put our case in the manager's head.”
Long praised McGeady’s contribution to his strike against Bosnia-Herzegovina, saying: “It was just a brilliant cross. I have played with him for a while now at international level and I know that, once he gets to the byline, 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."
McGeady and Damian Duff are likely to start against Croatia, and Long said: “They both like to dribble with the ball and get at players. 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.”