Bad news for the Republic of Ireland and manager Martin O’Neill as Southampton striker Shane Long had to be replaced following an injury in their game against Crystal Palace this afternoon.
Long had started the last two games having previously been left out of the Saints squad entirely for their opening game of the season.
The Tipperary native had been putting himself about well during the first 45 minutes at Selhurst Park but he pulled up early in the second half and was subsequently replaced by fellow striker Charlie Austin.
The former QPR frontman had the chance to put Southampton two up from the penalty spot after Danny Ings had given them the lead but Austin could not convert from twelve yards.
The extent of Long’s injury is not yet known but it is worrying for Martin O’Neill who is already short of attacking options having lost Preston striker Sean Maguire earlier in the season through injury.
Ireland face Wales in their opening game of the Nations League on September 6th and speaking at the squad announcement press conference earlier in the week, O’Neill outlined that the lack of depth in the striking department was certainly a cause of concern for him.
It’s been a difficulty since I’ve come in here,” O’Neill said
“I inherited a top-class striker in the autumn, if not early winter, of his career, in Robbie Keane. We have not replaced him. He was a natural goalscorer, he could find the net, and at this level that’s naturally very, very important.
“We have had to make do. We can’t go into a transfer market, we can’t try and sort something out, it is what it is. Absolutely, I can’t deny that it’s a problem.