Long: ‘Burnley is the right move’

Burnley FC training ahead of the new season at Gawthorpe training ground, Burnley.'30th July 2015
Burnley FC training ahead of the new season at Gawthorpe training ground, Burnley.'30th July 2015
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Chris Long feels he is enhancing his career opportunities by leaving Everton for Burnley.

Long, 20, is a lifelong Evertonian and joined the club aged five, but only made one senior appearance for the Toffees, in a Europa League dead rubber against Krasnodar.

He ended last season on loan at Brentford, scoring four goals in 11 appearances, and he jumped at the chance to join the Clarets on a three-year deal, with the option of a fourth.

The young striker said: “I had a few offers but once I got told about Burnley I just wanted to go ahead with it.

“Everton offered me a three-year contract but I did well last pre-season and I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. I thought I would end up on loan again, so I decided to start a new chapter in my life and I think Burnley’s the right move.

“I’m ready to make that break and I just can’t wait to get going.”

Roberto Martinez has a reputation as a champion of youth, but Long felt his chances were severely limited at Goodison Park: “It was a wrench to leave. The Academy side of it and the way they treated me was great but I couldn’t say that about the first team side of it.

“Duncan Ferguson looked after me very well and I still speak to him now. He was happy with my move.

“I just thought in my career I do need to make the next step so I just thought it was the right thing to do.

“I did see a way through but I didn’t think it would be in the next two or three years.

“I thought I’d be going bad out on loan and having to prove myself again, like the Patrick Bamford situation.

“I just need to show what I can do and do what I love doing, scoring goals, in the Championship and getting the team promoted.

“It’s a gamble, it’s a risk, but I’ve just got to keep going and I think I’ll be fine.”

Long was tipped to make the breakthrough 12 months ago, and he explained: “I was with the first team in pre-season and I scored a great goal and I thought I would have got my chance then, but Martinez thought not.

“I made my debut in the Europa League, which was good for my family and things like that, but I needed more games. I felt I was capable of playing there.

“But it’s a bit hard when there’s a £30million striker in your place, and he wasn’t getting injured.

“I don’t think I was the striker he wanted.

“He played Ross and Stonesy but not Chris Long.”

Several strikers have blossomed at Burnley in recent year, and Long is eager to follow suit: “Ings, Rodriguez and Austin have all had unbelievable careers so far so hopefully I can follow in their footsteps and do even better.

“There aren’t many lads who like to take gambles; they’re happy to sit in the Under 21s and play for the big club, but it’s not really playing for the big club, it’s playing for the reserve team isn’t it, so I think you’ve got to take risks in your career.

“I think that’s what I’m taking but Burnley Football Club is a great club and I just want to succeed with this club and make the team as good as it can be.”

Burnley fans may have to wait to see the new signing, however, as he gets up to speed in terms of his fitness: “I didn’t report back with Everton. I was meant to report back to go to Singapore but I didn’t because of the contract situation.

“I’ve just been going to my local gym and playing in my mate’s 5-a-side team. But I’m raring to go now.

“I just need to get fit and show the gaffer what I can do to be honest.

“He’s said I can push for a starting place so I just need to work hard and hopefully I can get in the team.

“I’m working hard. “I’ve just got to show the gaffer what I can do, so I’m working 110% to get in that team.”

Long has experience of a Sean Dyche teamtalk already, with the Clarets boss invited into the Brentford dressing room by Mark Warburton before the Bees’ 3-2 win at Blackburn Rovers last season - with Long scoring at Ewood Park, and he smiled: “I think that was my only shot in the game to be honest, but it felt good!

“We weren’t playing the best and then I just picked the ball up outside the box and I just thought I’d hit it. Luckily it hit the back of the net.”