Shane Long joins the Romelu Lukaku fan club

Striker Shane Long today hailed team-mate Romelu Lukaku as a ‘complete striker’ – despite being dropped for the on-loan teenager.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Reading - The Hawthorns

Lukaku was handed a full debut against Reading in place of Long, who had started every previous game this season.

But the Ireland international stepped off the bench to lay on Lukaku’s winner and insisted he understood why he was left out.

“The boss sent me on and said ‘go and make a difference, play up front with Rom and try to cause them problems’,” said Long.

“Rom’s been chomping at the bit for a while and the boss just decided to change it because we didn’t really perform last weekend at Fulham. But the manager said I’m still a very big part of his plans.

“Romelu is a handful for everybody. He’s still only 19 but he’s strong and quick, he’s good in the air and can finish with both feet.

“He’s near enough the complete striker. He’s still young, still learning his craft, but he’s a big addition to our team.”

Long’s knock-down for Lukaku helped Albion defeat the Irishman’s former club to extend their impressive start to the Premier League season.

And Long admitted he felt for Royals boss Brian McDermott, who served as his landlord when he first moved to Reading from Ireland.

“He gave me the spare room for two months and took me under his wing for a while I was cutting his lawn,” joked Long.

“He really looked after me and I’ll be forever grateful for that.”