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A Long Story On Night Of History

Kevin Long makes first start as four Clarets line up for Ireland

5 June 2017

Kevin Long staked his claim for a first taste of competitive football with the Republic of Ireland on a night of history for Burnley.

Long made his full debut for Ireland and helped Martin O'Neill's side beat Urguguay 3-1 in a friendly in Dublin on Sunday evening.

And the Clarets' defender was joined in the starting line-up by Turf Moor team-mates Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady - the first time the Clarets have had four players in any one national side.

Long - who had come off the bench in a friendly against Mexico in the United States last week to win his first cap - impressed in a central defensive role as he completed the full 90 minutes against Uruguay.

Prolific striker Edinson Cavani lasted only 10 minutes following an early brush with Long as the pair challenged for a high ball.

And, according to reports in Ireland, Long has put himself in the frame for an active role when Ireland look to extend their unbeaten start in Group D when they face Austria in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin next Sunday.

“He (Cavani) is a great player so it was important I challenged him early and to see what happened,” Long - whose Premier League debut for the Clarets came only at the start of May - told reporters.

“This is international football and although Luis Suarez wasn’t in the Uruguay team, I know there would be top-class strikers to mark.

“It would have been interesting to see how I did against Cavani had he stayed on the pitch longer.

“I want to stay involved. I’d never played for Ireland at any level before this week so I’m not taking anything for granted.”

Long, who had previously made it only as far as the bench for his country's under-21 side, missed the wedding of his brother Danny and a subsequent family trip to Marbella to answer Ireland's call.

“I won’t get a chance to join them because I’ll be training but missing the wedding and family to play for my country is worth it,” added the 26-year-old, whose own life has taken on a new dimension in the space of a month.

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