Defender determined to build on impressive debut
Kevin Long hopes his breakthrough in the Championship is only a taste of things to come.
The defender started his first game for the Clarets in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Watford at Turf Moor.
His call-up came almost three years after the young Irishman joined Burnley from Cork City.
And after successful loan spells in the lower divisions with Accrington Stanley, Rochdale and Portsmouth, the 22-year-old was delighted to finally get a full Championship debut
“I wanted to prove to myself more than anything that I can play at this level,” said Long, whose only previous appearance for the Clarets had come as a late substitute against Sheffield Wednesday in early October.
“I have played in League One and League Two and done well so I just wanted to go and out and prove I could play at Championship level.
“You get that doubt in your head. A lot of managers have come in and when a new manager comes in and you haven’t played before they are kind of wondering why.
“You are starting all over again, going through that development stage and they want to see you out on loan and playing games before they do anything.
“I just had to keep working and thankfully I got my chance. But I don’t just want to play one game. I want to play more.
“I was delighted to make my debut but I want to kick on now and try and keep in the team.”
Long was signed by Owen Coyle in January, 2010 and has since been part of the Clarets’ squad under Brian Laws, Eddie Howe and now Sean Dyche.
Dyche was pleased with Long’s appearance against Watford, when the Cork-born centre-back didn’t put a foot wrong.
The manager has Michael Duff available following suspension for Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City but Long hopes he has done enough to at least stay in the frame.
“I have waited a long time since I came to the club to make my first start so when I found out on Friday I was playing I was buzzing and to get out there and play I was delighted,” added Long.
“I have been here quite a long time so I know all the lads and it was really a matter of getting out there and getting it over and done with.
“When it’s your first game your adrenaline generally gets you through it mostly anyway, but I think I did all right.
“I think there will be a lot harder games but hopefully if I get the chance I will do well.
“I think Duffo and Shacks have probably been two of our best players in defence this season, so I am not taking anything for granted.
“I still need to work and hard and if I do that hopefully I will get a chance in the team.
“But playing that game has raised the bar a little bit for me and I want to push on and hopefully if I get in the team I will be able to stay in there if I do well.”