Shane Long thrilled to get chance to captain Republic of Ireland

Shane Long: Cannot wait to lead out the Republic of Ireland

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West Brom striker Shane Long is honoured to have been named captain of the Republic of Ireland for the first time.

The 26-year-old will take the armband on his 36th apperance for his country after coach Giovanni Trapattoni opted to field a team showing nine changes from the one that drew 1-1 with England on Wednesday.

Long scored Ireland's goal in that game, and he said being named captain was the perfect end to a memorable week.

"I didn't think the week could get any better after Wednesday night," Long said.

"It was obviously a great thing for me to score at Wembley, but I think the biggest honour you can get is to captain your country and I was delighted to get the nod from the gaffer.

"The boss kept the team close to his chest. He asked how many caps I had - and I might have exaggerated a little bit.

"But he told me I was the most-capped player and he me wanted to lead the team out on Sunday, and obviously it is a personal highlight for me.

"It's the first time I have been captain in my senior career, so I am really excited. In underage football, I got the captaincy quite a bit, but I have always been the young one in every squad so far, so it's nice to get the nod.

"It kind of came up fairly quickly on me. I have been squad long time, I suppose, I have been with the lads a long time. I always dreamt of this day coming, so I am delighted it's finally here.

"Normally, I'm fairly quiet on the pitch, but I think this will be different and I will be trying to help out the team as best I can."