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Clarke: Shane has point to prove

24 August 2012

Striker impresses Baggies boss

STEVE Clarke believes Shane Long’s dynamic display in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Liverpool shows he is a man with a point to prove.

The Ireland international suffered an injury-interrupted first top-flight season with the Baggies – but still mustered eight goals.

And, with his fitness problems behind him, Clarke says the striker is now eager to make himself a Barclays Premier League regular at The Hawthorns.

“I thought Shane was fantastic in the game,” he said.

“He was always in and around the ankles of the two centre-halves of Liverpool and gave them a really uncomfortable afternoon.

“That’s what Shane can do.

“He came here last year with a lot of expectation on his shoulders.

“He was a big signing for the club and he had an interrupted season due to injuries.

“It probably didn’t quite go the way Shane wanted it to go.

“He’s a man who’s got something to prove this season – and I think he showed a little bit of that last weekend.”

Clarke also praised Long’s ‘sensible’ approach to step away from taking the second penalty – both of which he earned – against the Reds after missing the first.

“I think he took a big step away from the second one, which shows he’s sensible as well," the Albion chief added.

“It’s okay to be confident but players have to be honest on the pitch as well.

“James and Peter had a discussion about who was taking the second one and that’s normal.

“You don’t want the ball lying on the pitch and all the players turning their back on it.

“You want people to pick up the ball.

“Both of them were confident they could score, Peter got the nod and scored.

“Don’t ask me who’s taking them this week!"

Clarke joked: “I’d be happy for Shane to take another penalty – but only if he scores!

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