Lane starlet will go a Long way, says Morgan

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PLAYER-coach Chris Morgan has hailed teenage goalkeeper George Long’s professionalism in training since being left out of the Sheffield United starting line-up.

Long, a graduate of the club’s Shirecliffe youth system, was omitted from the team by manager Danny Wilson following their 4-4 draw with Exeter City.

Wilson decided to recall the experienced Steve Simonsen against Stevenage and drop Long to the substitutes bench. The 18-year-old is likely to be on the bench again for tomorrow’s clash with Carlisle United as Wilson’s men bid to get back to winning ways.

Long starred in the reserves’ 1-1 draw with Derby County, pulling off a series of fine saves to deny the visitors, who boasted a number of first-team players in their ranks. It is no secret Wilson wants to strengthen the goalkeeping department, but Long is set to remain the back-up shot-stopper for the foreseeable future after a superb display in between the sticks.

“George has got a great attitude,” said Morgan. “He is a young lad who got thrust into the first team and did a cracking job against MK Dons.

“He played against Exeter and it finished 4-4 and you are always going to look at your defending and the decisions from your defenders and your goalkeeper. I think he has done fantastically well.

“George has got great stature for a young player and he is learning all the time. He is a great shot-stopper and he has got a big future ahead of him.”

Versatile defender Johnny Ertl also returned to action for the first time in eight months against the Rams after recovering from his cruciate knee ligament injury.

Morgan told The Star: “Johnny is a good player and he has a lot of strings to his bow. He played centre-half against Derby but we all know he can play central midfield too. We all know the Christmas and New Year period is a big time for everybody and the matches come thick and fast so it is great we have got another vital player back.”