Southampton ace Shane Long on his future with the club

By Dan Sheldon

Sports Reporter

Southampton ace Shane Long on his future with the club

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SHANE Long knows he is playing for his future at Saints.

The striker will be entering the final year of his contract this summer, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl expected to complete an overhaul of his squad.

“I think with the last four or five performances I’ve put in, there have been some good ones in there,” revealed the Saints ace.

“I have only got a year left on my contract and I don’t think I’ve earned the right to go knocking on the door and asking for more years.

“I think the club is an amazing club and the people here like the way I approach the game, the way I train and the way I am in the dressing room.

“As a striker you need goals and I am trying to put my case forward between now and the end of the season.

“Everyone knows I love it here and I know next season is going to be a big season because of the confidence the manager has instilled around the place and I want to be a part of that.

“If it does come to it at the end of the season and I’m not wanted anymore, then I will still look back on my career at Southampton as a good time and something to be really proud of.

“It’s hard to validate giving a new deal out if you aren’t getting the goals or the results on the pitch.

“I am working as hard as I can to try and sway it in my direction and if it’s not to be then I will look to pastures new, but I don’t want that.”

After becoming only the fourth Irishman to score 50 Premier League goals, Long propelled himself to the top of another list on Tuesday night.

The 32-year-old became the league’s fastest ever goalscorer when he netted against Watford after just 7.69 seconds.

He is the only Saints striker to find the back of the net in 2019 and believes that his recent run of form, which has seen him score three times in his last four matches, is just the start.

Long added: “I think the last couple of seasons have been tough and people have been good because they know how hard I work for the team and for what I give to the team.

“But when you are not scoring goals, it’s hard as a striker.

“That’s the thing I’m most proud of: to keep battling on, to keep trying and to keep pushing myself to finally turn things around.

“It’s only three goals in four games, but I am hoping it’s the start of a big turnaround in my career.

“When the team is losing, and the manager wants goals, I don’t think he was going to be looking at me and I needed to turn that around.”