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Long eager to step up

3 June 2013

And striker insists he's still learning in Prem

SHANE Long has set his sights on beating his Barclays Premier League best after proving his top-flight pedigree with two almost identical seasons with the Baggies.

The Republic of Ireland hitman struck eight times in 24 starts and eight substitute appearances in his first league season at The Hawthorns.

And he showed his consistency by matching that tally in 25 starts and nine run-outs from the bench last term as he delivered stiff competition for 15-goal top scorer Romelu Lukaku.

“We shared the load up front and more than likely, we went with one striker, and it was either me or him,” said Long," who is suspended for his country's World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands on Friday.

"Towards the end of season, he started more and he scored a lot of goals.

"He's a fine player, so I just needed to bide my time, and when I did get my chance, I made sure I took it.

"A few times, I had scored one or two on the bounce and been rested for the third game, and that little flow of games could help over the season.

“I am still learning; I am only 26.

"It's one of my best returns in the Premier League, last year, so hopefully I can build on that again this year."

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