Why a new deal for Shane Long is a good move by Southampton
According to Daily Echo, Southampton are planning to hand striker Shane Long a new deal as his current contract expires at the end of the season. The report suggests that Long has been a key player in Southampton’s change in their form since December.
Long, 33, came through Saint Michaels’ and Cork City’s youth ranks before joining Reading in 2005. He made almost 200 appearances for the Royals and scored 54 goals in 6 years at the Madejski Stadium. He then played for West Brom and Hull City before moving to the south coast in 2014.
In 201 appearances for the Saints, he has racked up 34 goals and 26 assists. Though he has not been a prolific goalscorer, Long has consistently been in the squad over the past five years. He signed his last contract extension back in July 2016 and is entering the final four months with the club.
Meanwhile, Hasenhuttl has managed to rescue the team from its initial humiliation. The Saints are currently 13th in the league after a string of impressive performances in the last two months. They have been beaten only twice in their last 8 league games.
Danny Ings has contributed to the team with 14 goals in the league and he has been supported well by Shane Long.
The 33-year-old initially found it difficult to get regular game time but in the latter stages of the season, he seems to have claimed his spot in the starting XI alongside Ings. He has scored 2 goals and provided 4 assists in 20 games across all competitions this term.
With the experience of playing in over 500 games at club level, he has been of the best players on the pitch for the Saints lately. His presence has allowed Ings the freedom to score and the partnership has flourished. The former Reading man has also featured in 82 games for the Republic of Ireland.
Therefore, a new contract for the Irishman would be a justifiable act for the services he has offered to the team since 2014.