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Ralf Hassenhutl explains the importance of Shane Long at Southampton, despite his lack of football

Shane Long is having an impact at Southampton.

Ireland international Shane Long has been praised for his efforts at Southampton this season by his manager Ralf Hassenhutl.

While Long has been frozen out somewhat for club, and country, his experience is proving itself to be invaluable at St Mary’s this season.

The Saints have struggled for form throughout this season, but they possess a young squad that are starting to find their feet in the top-flight, with the contributions of Long integral so far as they look to avoid a relegation scrap this season.

Ralf Hassenhutl on Shane Long.

“It was close for him to start against Liverpool,” Hasenhuttl told Hampshire Live. “I had him in my mind because it was a good game for him.

“Then, finally, I decided to give the young players a chance because I thought it was a game where they can learn a lot.

“But, definitely, he is important for them. What he can do best is definitely work with his effort, his professionalism with the young lads.

“He is a good role model I think, one of the good role models we have in our team.

“I think the clear message, especially for an experienced player, is that they have to accept the different role they have when they are getting older.”

Shane Long.

While Hassenhutl’s comments may come as a surprise given Long’s relative obscurity in the international set-up, it does come as a boost to Stephen Kenny.

Currently, Kenny has a dearth of striking options available to him, with Adam Idah and Callum Robinson his two main strikers favoured.

But should Long continue to impress behind the scenes at St Mary’s, and potentially make his way back into the starting XI, he may still be an option for Kenny and the Boys in Green going forward.

Shane Long

Long, however, has played just over an hour of competitive football this season with the Saints, coming on as a sub in all three games.

His last Premier League outing came in September against Wolves.

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