Sheffield United By George, he’s only gone and done it

George Long has impressed for Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
George Long has impressed for Sheffield United � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Danny Coyne has described George Long’s selection in England’s 21 man party for next month’s FIFA under-20 World Cup as “completely deserved,” writes James Shield.

And Coyne, who observed the Sheffield United goalkeeper at close quarters after joining the South Yorkshire club last term, told The Star that Long possesses both the quality and character to prosper on the international stage.

“The biggest thing about George that stands-out for me is his attitude,” Coyne said. “He really is a rare breed in that regard.

“Everyone makes mistakes but the first time it really dawned on me that George is made of the right stuff was when I saw how he bounced back after having a little wobble early on in a game.

“That tells you he’s mentally strong and he’s got an amazing consistency. Not only with his performance in terms of matches but also towards his work during training in the week and, let me tell you, in someone of his age that is very, very rare.

“I’m delighted for him and there’s no doubt in my mind that he can go over there and acquit himself ever so well.”

Long, aged 19, had been scheduled to discover whether he had made the cut for the tournament in Turkey on June 7. But coach Peter Taylor, whose staff includes former United defender Ugo Ehiogu, brought forward his announcement following last week’s training camp.

Manchester United’s Sam Johnstone and Connor Ripley of Middlesbrough have also been selected with Chelsea’s Jamal Blackman the goalkeeper to miss-out.

“George is one of the new breed of goalkeepers,” Coyne, who won 16 senior caps for Wales, said. “Big, strong, powerful and athletic.

“What really impresses me about him as well is that he never gets carried away when things have gone well. George is a really grounded lad and he always wants to know what he can do better.

“That’s a great attribute and outlook to have. At any age.”

England begin their competition against Iraq on June 23 before facing Chile, also in Antalya, three days later. Their Group E campaign concludes on June 29 when Taylor’s charges face Egypt in Bursa.

“George’s progression shows the benefit of playing games,” Coyne said. “And he’s a smashing lad.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1