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Throughout his career, Shane Long played in four different Premier League clubs after his departure from Cork City in 2005. However, despite being a constant feature in England's top flight, his contributions are often under the radar among spectators. . So, is Long one of the most underrated players that has ever played in the Premier League?
It is proof of Long's application and professionalism that he had a career that consisted mainly of Premier League football. That said, the Irishman spent a period of his early years in English football struggling to avoid relegation from the first division or, instead, getting promotion from the league. It was during this period, however, that now the 33-year-old managed to demonstrate his prowess in scoring goals.
During his six-year stint in Reading, the striker found the network on 54 occasions, besides assisting 29 more goals in 199 matches. However, after his transfer to West Brom, Long's role has changed somewhat, as his statistics highlight a slight decline in his numbers in front of the goal. Upon joining Baggies in 2011, Long went on to play for Hull City and Southampton in England's first division, with his best campaign in terms of goals coming back in 2015-16, where he scored ten times in 28 games for Santos.
While there is no doubt that Long was not the most clinical striker in Premier League history, few players can be proud to have made 313 appearances in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. Fundamentally, this is what Long must be judged on. In addition to having vital goals, his longevity is an excellent example of his unquestionable professionalism and commitment to the sport.
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In addition, the total number of first-class games that Long has highlighted throughout his career also highlights his skills on the pitch, as well as his ability to respond to the demands of various managers. Including interim managers, the 33-year-old played with six different managers during his time at Saint Mary & # 39; s, performing regularly under each one.
Despite the tactical differences between Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino, Mark Hughes and Ralph Hasenhuttl, for example, Long has always managed to maintain his place in the team, regardless of the desired style of play. Crucially, the current manager of Southampton, Hasenhuttl, credits Long being a crucial factor in the club's rebirth, as they were no longer among the favorites for relegation with Space Casino football bets before the suspension of the season.
Although Danny Ings made headlines for his impressive form in front of goal, Long's high pressure approach to football made him a perfect fit for Santos' Austrian coach. At RasenBallsport Leipzig, Hasenhuttl would use Yussef Poulsen offside work fee to help get the most out of Timo Werner, an approach that has served him well in the Southeast so far.
A career worthy of appreciation
While Long may not be the most fun to watch for his ball skills, his contributions to football certainly make his career one that deserves more respect. So far, Long has participated in 12 Premier League campaigns, a record few players can match, let alone overcome, showing how underrated the Irishman has become.