Shane Long: Talentspotter

West Bromwich Albion and Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long talks to FourFourTwo back in June 2006.

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

Just Longy. I haven’t been around long enough to be given anything worse.

Team supported
Leeds United. They had big Irish contingent when I was a young lad – Robbie Keane, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly – and they were also doing well in the Premiership and getting to the semi-finals of the Champions League. All that made a big impression on me.

I would say my pace, heading ability and eye for goal.

I’d say the runs that I make off the ball, but at this stage everything needs working on, especially if I want to do well once we get in the Premiership.

Eric Cantona was a bit of a legend when I was growing up, even though he was playing for Manchester United. Roy Keane as well, I suppose. He also played in Cork, where Reading signed me from, so he was a bit of an inspiration.

Scoring two goals against Derby County in our 5-0 win recently. You definitely play with more freedom when you’ve already secured promotion and I was really able to express myself. I didn’t expect to get so many games this season, but it’s been unbelievable to be part of such a successful team.

I’m sure there will be a few low points in the future but I’ve not been in the game long enough for anything to go wrong. It’s all one upward curve so far – touch wood.

I’ve got six U19 caps for the Republic of Ireland, and the next step is the U21s, hopefully next season.

Best player played with
I’d have to say Kevin Doyle or he’ll give me a kicking. It’s been a great help having him come over from Cork with me – especially because he’s the only one who understands what I’m saying! He’s a great player too.

Toughest opponent
Curtis Davies when we played West Brom in the FA Cup. He was strong, quick… just really difficult to play against. There’ll be plenty like him in the Premiership next year, that’s for certain.

Biggest joker
Glen Little is an absolute lunatic, but I’m one of the quieter ones in the squad, so I tend to keep out of his way.

School report
I wasn’t bad at school, I just wasn’t that interested. What was my favourite subject? I was quite into technical drawing and design on the computer.

I’ve only got a Vauxhall Astra at the moment. It’s my first car and it does me fine, but I’m looking to upgrade it – hopefully I’ll get time during the summer break.

Last iPod download
I can’t really remember. I’m into all kinds of music except that London rap – Dizzee Rascal and all that. I’m not a big fan.

Orlaith McAllister from the last Big Brother. [FFT reveal they cycled past her on his way home from work the other day] Really? What’s she like in the flesh? [FFT: Even better] Ooh, she’s just perfect.

Goodfellas, Braveheart and Snatch. It’s an interesting mix, I know, but I’m into all kinds of films.

Friends and Deal Or No Deal – Noel Edmonds’ new game show. I didn’t watch it at first, but one of the lads told me about it and now I’m hooked.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
I play the guitar. I’d say I’m pretty good, but I’d like to be better. I like to play the old classics, from Bob Dylan and Oasis. The lads made me play and sing for them when I first arrived. Can I sing? I’m better when I’ve had a few drinks inside me.  All the lads think they can sing but they can’t – they’re all tone deaf.

Describe yourself in five words
That’s a tough one. Er, quick, strong, quiet, confident, happy.

In five years I’ll be…
Playing in the Premiership with Reading and also for the Republic of Ireland – that’s my aim, anyway.

Interview: Louis Massarella. From the June 2006 issue of FourFourTwo.