An Irish international has been named as the fastest player in the Premier League

An injection of pace is always a useful weapon to have.

Ireland, Shane Long,

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

The Premier League is full of world class athletes, and when it comes to pace, there are a number of players who have the explosive speed that can see them leave defences eating their dust. 

On their march to the title last season, Leicester used this tactic brilliantly with Jamie Vardy, lobbing balls over the top and exploiting the space left behind the back lines with his blistering pace.

That is a unique weapon in the arsenal of any team, and an attacking or a defensive unit can benefit hugely from having the ability to outpace their opponents. 

While all the professional footballers in the league will be quick on their feet, some players have that scintillating speed that sets them apart from the crowd, so the number-crunching data folk at Opta have taken a look at the fastest players plying their trade in the top flight - and and Irishman is top of the pile. 

While those you might expect to appear on the list, such as Vardy or Theo Walcott do make the list, they were beaten out by Tipperary's own Shane Long, who recorded a top speed of over 35 km/h, making him the fastest thing on two legs in the league this season.

The top 10 in full is: 

10. Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) – 34.77km/h
8 = Maya Yoshida (Southampton) – 34.78 km/h
8 = Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – 34.78 km/h
7. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 34.79 km/h
6. Eric Bailly (Manchester United) – 34.84 km/h

5. Andre Gray (Burnley) – 34.87 km/h
4. Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) – 35.10 km/h
3. Kyle Walker (Tottenham) – 35.18 km/h
2. Lynden Gooch (Sunderland) – 35.19 km/h
1. Shane Long (Southampton) – 35.31 km/h

Long made good use of that pace in Ireland's game against Moldova on Sunday evening, as he pounced to finish off a lovely ball from Wes Hoolahan in the opening stages of the game. 

However, the Southampton man was taken off in the second half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, but will be hoping that, having rediscovered his goal-scoring touch after a bit of a drought, that he'll be back in action sooner rather than later.

Via NBC Sports