Damien Delaney thinks that Shane Long will get a lot of international minutes under Stephen Kenny, as he looks ahead to Ireland's future.
After Delaney watched Southampton all but secure safety with a 3-1 win over Watford, he reiterated that Saints' striker Long will be firmly in Kenny's plans.
"I think that Shane Long will be front and centre of Stephen Kenny's plans, with the way that he plays," Delaney told Stephen Doyle.
"The way Stephen Kenny is going to want to play football, and maybe it was an issue when Mick was in charge and [David] McGoldrick was playing, McGoldrick always comes to feet. He brings centre-backs with him, and he just clogs up the middle of the park.
"Ireland very rarely had a threat through the middle, which is why I was surprised that Longy wasn't involved. I know he had his injury problems, and wasn't playing for Southampton, but Long runs in behind, and softens up centre-backs."
Damien Delaney on Shane Long
Delaney explained why he feels Long to be a player more appreciated by fellow players than fans.
"He is a very selfless player that other people might not appreciate, recognise or respect - but when he is in your team, you absolutely love him.
"It is a bit like Kevin Doyle when he was at the peak of his powers, just continuous running in behind. It opens up the middle of the park for the 'footballers'.
"I know Stephen Kenny is going to want to play football and play through the thirds - Shane Long will be vital to that. If it is not Shane Long then it'll be someone who plays through the middle.
"I think Longy will get an awful lot of game time, fitness depending. But Shane is 33 now and wanting to get regular game time at Southampton - mixing those two will be difficult."