Long still important to West Brom, insists Clarke

The Baggies' manager insists that the failed summer exit of the Irishman has not diminished his role in the side and reveals that talks will take place to clarify the situation
Steve Clarke insists Shane Long remains an integral part of his West Brom squad despite his near-departure on deadline day.

Long appeared set to join Hull City Tigers in the final hours of the transfer window, only for the move to collapse at the last moment as Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon arrived at the Hawthorns.

But Clarke is adamant that the 26-year-old, who has started all three of West Brom's Premier League matches this season, remains key to his plans.

“Shane Long is a very, very important member of our squad,” he told the club's official website.

“I’ve always said that since I came in. I'm delighted he's here.”

Long only returned to West Brom's training facility on Tuesday following international duty, and Clarke confirmed he will sit down with the striker to discuss his role going forward.

“I spoke to him on deadline day but not since because he's been with his country and I have to be respectful to them,” Clarke added.

“He has had to concentrate on what he was doing with Ireland.

“We will sit down to have a chat and we’ll go forward from there. Shane’s got a big contribution to make this season.”