Paddy Mulligan underlines reasons for Shane Long shortfall this season

Southampton striker only scored three Premier League goals this season

Shane Long, Southampton

Southampton's Shane Long during the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 19, 2017. John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

Another Premier League season has come to an end and in terms of goalscoring Irish players were not prolific on an individual level, although Everton's Seamus Coleman could have added to his four goals but for a horrible injury.

"As regards midfielders and strikers, we're way, way down the list," former Ireland and Chelsea full back Paddy Mulligan told Newstalk.com as he looked back on the season that was from an Irish perspective.

"Nobody jumps out for me who was totally outstanding for the whole season. That's a real concern."

One Ireland player of concern is Shane Long, who only scored three in the Premier League for Southampton this season despite hitting double figures in the last campaign.

"That's the worry, that he's not getting game time so obviously the manager sees stuff that he doesn't like and Shane, by the looks of things, might be on his way again. But where? Because he's running out of clubs now I would have thought," said Paddy of a player who is set to miss the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Austria next month. 

"His main asset is to get in behind defenders but the way people are playing these days where they sit so deep, it's very hard to make runs in behind defenders unless you get them stretched," Paddy continued.

"Shane Long's space is being limited and the runs that he likes to make, the space is no longer there for him. And I don't say this in a nasty way, but he doesn't have the cleverness to go short, bring people into play and then try and make a different type of run. I don't think he has the cleverness to do that. So that's an area of concern. But it won't affect Ireland against Austria because he won't be available."