We’ve been catching up with some Premier League stars to take a trip down memory lane to discuss the top moments of their careers, the best players they’ve played alongside and much more.
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First up, here’s what Southampton and Republic of Ireland forward Shane Long had to say as the 33-year-old looked back on his career for club and country.
Safe to say his Best XI is sneaky good…
Looking back on your career so far, what is the one memory that sticks out as the best and why?
Shane Long: That’s a really tricky one but I’d have to go with promotion to the Premier League in 2006 with Reading. It was my first year of football in England and we finished the season with a record 106 points.
What is the most memorable goal you have scored? Talk us through what you remember from it.
SL: It has to be the goal against Germany at the Aviva Stadium. I just remember there being a long clearance from the ‘keeper and I managed to get in behind the defence. I took a touch and then smashed it past Manuel Neuer in goal. That goal and that result was a massive part in us reaching the Euros which made it even more special. To do it at home in front of our fans too was an amazing feeling. I can just remember wheeling away in celebration.
Best stadium or atmosphere you’ve played in, and why?
SL: It would have to be either the Aviva Stadium that night or the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille when we beat Italy to get through to the knockout stages of Euro 2016. The Irish fans are incredible when it comes to creating an atmosphere and that match was no exception.
Which game did you enjoy playing in the most, and why?
SL: The most enjoyable has to be the 6-1 win for Southampton against Aston Villa in 2015. I think I scored two goals and made two assists in that match. It was also the game that Sadio Mane scored the fastest-ever Premier League hat trick. It was one of those days when everything we tried as a team worked and it was just a really enjoyable performance to be a part of.
Finally, pick a Best XI from players you have played with during your career… (4-3-3)
—– Given —–
— Coleman — Van Dijk — Alderweireld — Harte —
—- Schneiderlin —- Sigurdsson —- Davis —-
—- Mane —- Lukaku —- Tadic —-