Ings Is A Fan Of The Long Game
Wednesday, 19th Sep 2018 09:18
Danny Ings has spoken of the contribution of Shane Long to the team, something that some are not so quick to recognise.
Shane Long has often been the unsung hero of the Saints team, in his first season he found himself overshadowed by Sadio Mane and Graziano Pelle, but his contribution that season was immense if underrated, when Mane scored the fastest ever Premier League hat trick against Aston Villa in May 2015 he gained all the plaudits, yet it was Long who was the true man of the match, assists for Mane and scoring two goals himself including a log range drive that was the goal of the match.
But some Saints fans have been slow to praise the Irishman, they look at statistics and say he is not scoring goals, but that does not point the full picture, even his record of assists doesn't do that, Long is a player that is usually involved in a goal scoring move but he is normally one or two touches down the line from the actual finish.
His role is to scrap for the ball, win it or keep it in the opponents final third, meaning we can stay on the attack and not find the ball pumped forward and put us on the back foot.
Conversely he also offer a great outlet when the team is under pressure, when the ball is cleared he stops the opposition piling forward, it is no co incidence that when Long went off injured at Palace the pattern of the game changed with the Eagles able to build from the back and get up a head of steam.
That was the case on Monday night against Brighton, taking Long off and putting on Gabbiadini was not a good substitution, whereas Long had been harassing the Brighton back four and offering an outlet, that is not Gabbiadini's game and although he could not be faulted for effort suddenly Brighton had more time to build from the back.
Certainly Danny Ings is a fan of Shane Long and spoke about him this week.
Ings feels that Long should not be judged on his goal tally but his overall value to the team and that his work ethic will see him score goals.
“As a striker in the modern game, you need a lot more than scoring goals to maintain it at this level,” he said.
“Longy has been in the right place at the right time. For strikers it can be difficult when the chances you get aren’t going in, but that’s perfectly natural for strikers."
“If you score every chance you would be one of the best players in the world. There are not many of those around."
“What he brings to the team alongside that is just as important. His work rate, his effort.
“He’s been fighting with defenders, he’s crazy in the air, winning headers, and his work rate is exceptional."
“I haven’t seen his stats but I’m sure they are through the roof the way he’s been running around winning headers.”
“The last couple of games he’s almost been like a battering ram at times.”
A good example of what Ings is talking about came when he scored the opening goal at Crystal Palace, Shane Long wont appear on any stats for that one, but it was his run initially seeming that he was going to head the ball that pulled the Palace defence out of position creating the space behind him for Ings to have plenty of time and space to slot the ball home.
That won't show up in any stats, but it was crucial to the goal being scored, likewise the number of times Long gets on the end of balls, holds it up draws fouls and relieves pressure is a big asset to the team and one that we really needed in the final 15 minutes against Brighton.
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