Shane Long was in danger of becoming Southampton’s forgotten man prior to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s arrival as manager.
Since the German’s appointment, however, the ex-Republic of Ireland striker has revived his career with the Saints.
During his last four matches, he has netted three goals including important strikes against Watford and Wolves.
His goal at Vicarage Road in midweek created history. The strike was timed at 7.69 seconds and goes down as the fastest anyone has ever scored in the Premier League.
His overall performances of late have been good. Danny Ings is still seemingly the club’s number one striker, however, and he has some work to do to edge in front of him.
Long appears to have been given a new lease of life. The system that Hasenhuttl likes to play seems to suit the 32-year-old perfectly.
With two attacking midfielders playing more centrally behind a centre forward it means that Long has the creativity that alongside him that his game requires.
Under Mark Hughes, he was often left isolated in attack. That doesn’t really suit his game and as a result, his form suffered.
Long has proved throughout his career that he knows where the net is. What he needs is creative sparks such as Nathan Redmond to get the ball into the right areas.
With a year left on his £60k-a-week contract (Spotrac) at St Mary’s, there has been enough evidence of late to suggest that Long can play a part in Hasenhuttl’s team next season.