John Giles: Shane Long "up there" with Kane and Vardy on recent form

John speaks to Off The Ball about today's Ireland squad announcement for the Netherlands friendly

Shane Long, Southampton

Southampton's Shane Long (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Dusan Tadic during the Barclays Premier League match at St Marys, Southampton. PRESS ASSOCIATION

John Giles believes Shane Long is up there with Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane as a lead striker in the past few weeks.

Encouragingly for Ireland with Euro 2016 looming, the Tipperary striker has three goals and three assists in the last five games for Southampton.

"If you could bottle it, the way Shane Long is playing at the moment, you'd do it," he said on Off The Ball.

"He's absolutely outstanding. I'd say he's up there alongside Vardy and Kane as a leading striker. The last few matches I've seen him playing, he's been really, really excellent." 

Also ahead of the Euros, John believes it is important that Martin O'Neill's first choice Ireland XI get some game-time together.

"You do need a practice match with the team that is likely to play. That's very important," he said.