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Kevin Long is away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland and because of an injury to Brighton’s Shane Duffy, coupled with Derby County captain Richard Keogh acting as co-pilot in a motor race, he could find himself first choice for Mick McCarthy when they play against Georgia and Switzerland.

Long, of course, is our longest serving player. His signing was set up by Owen Coyle in the latter months of 2009 before his arrival in January 2010, just after Coyle had led his own biblical exodus to Horwich.

1920 burnley kevin long 00 500x500The central defender, who made his full international bow in June 2017, will have been a Burnley player for ten years in three months time which will qualify him for a testimonial. “I’d probably be on the bench for that game as well,” he joked when speaking to David Sneyd for the Irish Examiner.

Speaking about his lack of game time at Burnley, he said: “It is frustrating but it’s a business at the end of the day. I know how the game works. The manager knows what he’s got with me, he knows I’m an honest player and I never sack training off. I always try my hardest in every training session and every game. For one reason or another it’s not happened but I’m happy, I would just like to get more games. It’s as simple as that. If there are injuries or whatever, I know I’m going to play. There’s nothing more to it.”

Has he ever contemplated moving on? He said he and Sean Dyche have been speaking for some time about possibilities. “I don’t know if it’s that easy,” he added. “You can’t just walk in and say: ‘I’m going to leave and that’s it’. I’ve seen players do that in the past. I’d never do it. I get paid to play football and be professional about my job. I think of my team mates and staff, and I would never do that.”

Long might not get too many games at Burnley. To date he’s made 47 league appearances for us with 16 cup appearances to add to that. During his time with us he’s also had loans at Accrington, Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK for whom he’s made a further 175 league appearances.

Would he go out on loan again? “I don’t think there was ever a chance of me going out on loan, I don’t think the gaffer would allow that,” he said. “Obviously the last few windows I have spoken to him about it that if something came up that was right for me and right for the club we would probably look at it but for one reason or another it’s not happened.”

But he’s very likely now to be first choice in McCarthy’s international team and, should Duffy not make it, he’s likely to form a central defensive partnership with Sheffield United’s John Egan.

That’s probably before he’s benched for his own testimonial.

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