Southampton perfect platform for Euro 2016, says Long

Shane Long

Shane Long is hoping his performances for in-form Southampton will help him break back into the Republic of Ireland starting line up.

Shane Long says he is determined to build on his club form at Southampton and break into Ireland's starting line up for Euro 2016.

Having netted some vital goals during qualification for his country, Long has found himself being used as more of an impact substitute for Martin O'Neil's side, despite scoring 10 goals for his club so far this season.

Ireland begin their preparations for Euro 2016 by facing Switzerland on March 25th in Dublin, before welcoming Slovakia four days later.

And Long, who has started just one of Ireland's last eight internationals, remains hopeful of using his club's good form as a platform to become a regular international starter once more. 

Picking up the Goal of the Year award for his effort against Germany at the FAI awards ceremony on Sunday, he told RTE Sport: “It’s always going to be tough. We’ve got 25 lads that are all eager to play and be part of one of the biggest tournaments of their lives.

“No-one is going to give up their spot easily. Hopefully, I can do well at club level and impress the manager and come in here in a rich vein of form and challenge for that starting 11.

“I’m getting a run of games [with Southampton] and the team is doing well.

“We’re picking up some good results and slowly climbing up the table, putting ourselves in a good position to threaten for Europe. I’m delighted to be a part of that and hopefully [I’ll] be in a good vein of form come the summer."

A dramatic 3-2 win over Liverpool leaves Ronald Koeman's men currently sitting three points behind fifth-placed West Ham United in the race for Europa League qualification.

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