Shane Long: I hope to push for a starting place in the World Cup qualifiers

Baggies striker hopes to put his Euro 2012 frustration behind him and cement a starting berth in Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland team during the World Cup qualifying
West Bromich Albion striker Shane Long has said that he hopes to be pushing for a starting place in the Ireland squad during the qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the 25-year-old forward admitted that it was 'frustrating' not to be involved in every game at Euro 2012 and said that he hopes to make a bigger contribution in future.

"Not getting more minutes on the pitch was frustrating at the time," Long said. "But then there were seven lads who didn’t even get an appearance so it could have been a lot worse."

He continued: "It was just amazing to play for Ireland at the Euros and hopefully I’ll get the chance to make a bigger impact in the future.

"Next time, if we can qualify for Brazil, I’ll hopefully have a good two seasons under my belt going there and really pushing the lads for a starting position."

The former Reading striker played in just two games at the European Championships during the summer, against Croatia and Italy, coming on as a substitute late into the second half of each game, but Long says that he was relieved to be involved in the set up.

"Going to the Euros was an amazing experience," he said. "Just to be around the whole set up was fantastic. The Irish fans were just unbelievable at the games.

"It’s just disappointing we couldn’t give them a little bit more to shout about results wise and make it a bit more interesting after the first game," he added.

And Long is hoping that he can rekindle the form that saw him score eight goals for the Baggies last season, with his aim being to 'hit double figures'.

"Towards the end of the season, I got back into the team [after injury] and started scoring again," he said. "Hopefully, I can kick on from there and, touch wood, stay injury-free and show what I’m about.

"I managed to get eight goals from a fairly injury-prone season so hopefully I can add to that this season, hit double figures and push on from there," concluded the striker.