After ending his club season on a huge high with Southampton, striker Shane Long can’t wait to link up with the Republic of Ireland.
The in-form frontman will be a key man for Martin O’Neill’s men in France this summer after enjoying a stunning second half of the season at club level with Saints.
Long ended the campaign with a Premier League goal tally in double figures for the first time in his career, and now he’s looking forward to EURO 2016.
“I’m geared and ready to be playing at the Euros. We’ve got a tough group, but the country will be buzzing behind us,” Long told the Daily Echo.
“I’m really excited and I hope I’m part of it a bit more than I was last time. The manager has us set up well and we have great ability attacking wise.
“Hopefully it will be a big tournament for Ireland. We know it’s going to be hard. We always go into games as underdogs, so we will just approach it in the right way.”
Long could come up against Graziano Pellè when Republic of Ireland take on Italy in their final group game, and Long hopes they’ll be in a good position by the time of that encounter.
“Hopefully we have two wins under our belt by the time we play Graziano’s Italy,” Long added.
“Italy are Italy: they are one of the biggest teams in Europe and the world, so hopefully we don’t go into that game needing a win.”