Shane Long insists he is ready to become the Republic of Ireland national team’s new star striker.
The 27-year old Hull City forward scored his 11th international goal in his 44th appearance in Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to Serbia and is now eyeing the position of captain Robbie Keane.
The 33-year old LA Galaxy star holds the Irish record for most caps (131) and goals (62) but it is inevitable that his international career will soon be coming to an end.
Long is aware he is not at the level of Keane but is still confident of becoming Ireland’s top man as the Euro2016 qualifying campaign progresses later this year and next.
"I have been here a long time and I have been biding my time, waiting for my chance to come and learning every time I come into the squad,” Long said.
"I'm sure if the gaffer (Martin O’Neill) sees me as a viable option, I'm ready to take that, I'm ready to jump in.
"Wearing that green jersey is a privilege for anybody, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.
"I am going back to Hull now and I'll try to get the confidence back and keep scoring goals and come here in the summer still a Premier League player."
The former West Bromwich Albion striker added: "Robbie's record is unbelievable and I don't think it will ever be touched.
"But I can learn from him as well. He's brilliant to have in and around the squad because he talks to us as well in training and helps us out, and he's a really good captain.
"Obviously the gaffer didn't have him here and went with me up front, and hopefully I gave him something to think about."
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