The Irish team’s focus at the moment will, of course, be solely directed on overcoming a tough Serbian outfit on Tuesday night, but there was one fantastic moment of distraction for Shane Long ahead of the game.
As part of Three’s #TheCallUp campaign, the Southampton striker surprised Chloe, the young supporter featured in the video, with an Ireland jersey and the news that she would be a mascot for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against Serbia.
Watch below as Long makes her day.
Having yet to start a game for his club side so far this season it’s fair to say there were one or two signs of rust in Long’s play as he started up front for Martin O’Neill’s men against the Georgians on Saturday night.
One header, in particular, should have been stuck away, and probably would have been had Long been involved in more domestic action so far this season.
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) September 2, 2017
With Jonathan Walters also in the frame, it is yet to be seen if the former Reading and West Brom man will start in the same role on Tuesday with Ireland needing a win to both distance themselves from Wales and leapfrog Serbia, who top the group at present.
Ireland still have games against Moldova and Wales to come next month but there’s a real sense the Boys in Green need to pull something special out of the bag at the Aviva with this game potentially making or breaking their qualification hopes.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena