STEVE Clarke has praised Shane Long for repaying his faith in him by terrorising the Chelsea defence in Saturday’s controversial 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Following an injury-interrupted opening to the season, the Republic of Ireland striker started successive games for the first time since the transfer closed on September 2.
He again proved the Blues’ nemesis, hitting the post before scoring his third goal in four starts against them to open his account for the season.
“The goal was good for Shane,” said Clarke.
“He came into the team last week after a number of weeks out.
“It was a difficult game – it wasn’t a good game last week – but he did what he does.
“He ran around, worked hard, and, with that game under his belt, it was a worthwhile decision to stick with him this week.
“And he paid me back with a goal.”
He added: “Shane is a player who upsets central defenders because he’s always on the move.
“He doesn’t stand still, he’s not easy to mark because he’s always moving around.
“That’s one of the characteristics of his game.
“It’s something he brings to our team that disrupts the opposition defenders, and it gives us a platform to go forward.
“I think he ruffled John Terry.”