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Long learning from Clarke

31 August 2012

And striker looking to enter break on a high against Everton

SHANE Long is aiming to go into the international break on a high by continuing Albion’s impressive start to the season.

The Baggies striker will link up with Ireland after tomorrow’s game with Everton (ko 3pm) for their World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.

And he is eager to maintain the Baggies’ unbeaten start against the in-form Toffees, who will arrive at The Hawthorns on the back of a three-game winning run.

“The head coach has come in and he has set his stall out for the team,” said Long.

“He knows the way he wants us to play and it was a good pre-season for us.

“Maybe the first one or two games were a bit shaky, trying to get used to this new way of playing but we’ve got the players to do it.

“Against Liverpool I thought we played really well and after the game it was a bit frustrating because it was all about Liverpool losing rather than us winning.

“But when you beat a team 3-0 it’s fairly convincing and it could have been four or five.

“But we will stay under the radar.

“Four points from the first two games, at home to Liverpool and away at Tottenham, isn’t a bad return so hopefully we can build on that against Everton and go into the international break on a high.”

Long admits he is facing even stiffer competition for a starting place in Steve Clarke’s side following the summer arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Markus Rosenberg.

But he says it is very much a case of friendly rivalry among the forwards the Baggies head coach has at his disposal.

“We’re lucky because we all get on,” he added.

“Whoever is playing, the rest support us, wish us well, and want us to do well for the team.

“Whoever plays on Saturday, I know the other strikers will be right behind them and wanting them to get the points.”

And Long is revelling in life under the new boss, who he has given a ringing endorsement of.

“Coaching-wise he is brilliant,” he said.

“He knows the game really well.

“For his first time as a head coach it was a really tough job to come into after Roy but he has taken to it really well.

“He has talked to the players and told them what he wants them to do and he’s a natural head coach in my opinion.

“I’m learning a lot from him.

“I’ve been lucky in my career to have good managers in Steve Coppell, Trapattoni, Hodgson, Brian McDermott and now the boss here.

“I am learning little bits from each of them and the way he plays is a new system for me so I’m really enjoying it.”

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