Shane Long has admitted that his recent omission from Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland squad was a ‘killer blow’
But the Southampton striker outlined that he has not fallen out with the Ireland manager.
Long has yet to feature for his country since McCarthy took over the role at the beginning of 2019, and has yet to even be included in a squad under the new boss.
The 33-year-old has returned to form for the Saints over the last few months forming an excellent partnership with the prolific Danny Ings at St Mary’s.
Speaking to Southampton’s official website, Long opened up on the disappointment of not being selected by McCarthy.
But he explained that he frequently keeps in touch with the Irish manager and that he is hoping to return in March.
“It’s massive for me,” said Long of winning his place back in the Irish squad.
“Obviously not being in the squad here, the manager of Ireland decided to pick players who were playing at club level and I was overlooked.
“I spoke to him about it, we kept it very civil, he told me his reasons and I accepted that.
“It was tough because I was really looking forward to it at the time and I needed that game time.
“I wanted something to clear my head because I wasn’t involved here, so that was a killer blow for me.
“I think it was the first squad since I’ve got into the Ireland team where I’ve been fit but not selected.
“It was tough for me to take – another body blow, as I say, but I’ve got over it.
“I’m still in touch with the manager – we haven’t fallen out or anything.
“He keeps texting when I’m playing, saying ‘good game today’ and keeping me encouraged.
“It’s about keeping my place in the squad so when it does come to picking that Ireland team I am involved, because they’re massive games.”