MICK McCarthy has told Saints striker Shane Long what he needs to do if he wants to play for the Republic of Ireland again.

McCarthy left Long out of his squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Switzerland and Bulgaria.

The 32-year-old has managed just two appearances for Saints this season, with those coming against Fulham and Manchester United.

Explaining what Long needs to do for a recall, McCarthy said: “The chance to play for Ireland is still very much there for him.

“He has made many appearances and what is he, sixth or seventh highest goalscorer?

“Shane just wasn’t playing, in any games, so my logic is and the way I want players to play is they need to be playing.”

Although McCarthy didn’t pick Long, he selected ex-Saint David McGoldrick.

McGoldrick spent five years with the south coast side and is currently enjoying life in the Premier League with Sheffield United.

And Ireland boss McCarthy talked up the other Ireland strikers in his team when defending his choice to exclude Long.

He added: "I would have thought that if anybody analyses the players that are in the squad, the strikers that I have picked have all been playing.

"David McGoldrick has started in the Premier League, Robbo [Callum Robinson] did, he’s scored in the Premier League.

"Sean Maguire was playing regularly and scoring. Scott Hogan, started, scoring."

Even though McCarthy has made it clear that he wants his players to be playing regularly, he broke his own rule when picking Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

Duffy was dropped for the Seagulls’ trip to Manchester City last weekend.

"I think it is brilliant because he is fit and raring to go for me,” said McCarthy.

"I'm worried going forward that he might not get back in the team if they are not playing really well and that would be a travesty for him because he has been brilliant for Brighton.

"But they are playing a different system and if the manager thinks the other three are playing better than him, so be it.”