Shane Long: 'Giving my number 9 shirt to Adam Idah was embarrassing and degrading'

Shane Long: 'Giving my number 9 shirt to Adam Idah was embarrassing and degrading'

FORMER REPUBLIC OF IRELAND STRIKER SHANE LONG has opened up about a time he felt embarrassed and degraded under Ireland boss Stephen Kenny.

Long, who has 88 caps for his country, wore the country's number 9 and was given the shirt number after Kevin Doyle, another former Ireland striker, retired from the national team.

The Tipperary-native has been a mainstay in Ireland's teams since 2007 and was one of the veterans by the time Stephen Kenny took the job in 2020.

Kenny's inclusion of younger players has become a staple of his reign, and in 2021, the likes of Troy Parrott and Adam Idah were starting to become regulars in the senior squad.

Dublin , Ireland - 10 November 2021; Adam Idah during a Republic of Ireland training session at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Idah was presented with Long's shirt number as part of a ceremonial shirt presentation in the Ireland camp.

Long had to hand Idah the shirt with his squad number, and this did not go down well with him. He claimed in a podcast that "he wanted to storm out of that Ireland dressing room at that time."

Speaking on his wife's podcast "Kay And Ash, Share Your Voice," he was asked about the "toughest moment in his career" and highlighted this moment.

He responded by saying: "It was late in my Ireland career.

"So obviously when you come into the ranks, you get a high number in the Ireland squad. You kind of earn your number in the squad.

"And after Kevin (Doyle) had gone to America and left international football, I was given the number nine shirt.

"I was so proud to have that number, and I had it for years."

"He (Stephen Kenny) wanted to start a new tradition of welcoming new players."

The "new tradition" involved older players presenting newcomers with their first Irish jersey and introducing them to the team, which Long thought was a "great idea" at the time.

"So Seamus Coleman steps up, I think he had Dara O'Shea, and gives him the number 23 jersey.

"Randolph steps up, I think it was Caoimhin Kelleher he gave the jersey to, another high number.

"And then I stepped up, and it was Adam Idah, and I was delighted because obviously he's from Cork City, he's a bit of a culchie like myself," he went on to say.

"So I gave a speech, and I held up the shirt, and on the back, it was number 9.

"I remember just handing that jersey over, and I just wanted to storm out of that room.

"And if it was at club level, I would have left. That would have been me gone.

"That was a manager making a statement."

Long went onto to explain that tradition of handing over shirt numbers was something that was sacred to football players and this was one the reasons why he reacted the way he did.

"When Robbie Keane retired, Robbie Brady was in the squad for a long, long time, he was desperate for No. 10, so then he got the No. 10 and wore that to the Euros.

"It was just the traditional way, you had to earn that number in the squad, to have it taken away and handed over like that was embarrassing and degrading."

The former Southampton player's last cap for Ireland was a 1-1 draw against Qatar in March 2021.

Whatever happens, Ireland fans will never forget Long's goal against Germany.