It hasn’t been the best 12 months for Shane Long, and Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has hit out at the striker to figure out what’s gone wrong.
Long has found the net for Southampton just three times in his last 34 Premier League appearances, though he’s not been the only one at the club to struggle for goals.
But his form, which has seen him firmly overtaken by Manolo Gabbiadini, has come under question by Keane ahead of the international break.
“As much as we look at managers, I always say the player’s got to look at himself. Look at the man in the mirror,” Keane was quoted saying in the Mirror.
“Is he doing enough at club level in terms of training? I don’t know. But when we have him for the week, he’s fine, he gets on with it.”
Long returned just seven goals for club and country combined last season whilst making 27 starts.
The striker has made an equally cold start to the new campaign, failing to score in three appearances — all off the bench — across all competitions.
Despite Long’s frustrations in front of goal, Keane has backed the 30-year-old to forget them and perform against Georgia on Saturday.
Keane said, “Sometimes we just put whatever is going on in their club careers on the backburner and just get on with it. We know if Shane starts on Saturday, he’ll do a good job like he always has.
"But ask any striker, it’s all about getting minutes on the pitch and putting the ball in the back of the net and he’s not been doing that regularly enough.”