George Long Interview
Selsport was recently lucky enough to speak to Sheffield United and England Under 21 goalkeeper George Long.
Hi George, can we start with your favourite four, which do you prefer.
• X-Factor or Strictly = X-Factor
• Steak or Fish = Steak
• Golf or Fishing = Both
• Cheryl Cole or Nicole Scherzinger = Scherzinger
Things at Sheffield United look to be going well, are you enjoying yourself?
Yes I’m enjoying my football at the moment. As a team results have started to pick up recently which is positive. Also from a personal point of view it’s great to be playing games as a young goalkeeper. I feel like I’m improving with each game and becoming a better player.
• Who’s your footballing hero and why?
I grew up watching Paddy Kenny play for Sheffield United. I used to go and watch every home game and would always watch him carefully in games to try and pick up bits to add to my own game as a young goalkeeper. But for the past few years I’ve always liked watching Joe Hart. I think hes been one of the best keepers in the premier league over the past 3-4 seasons. Also for me he’s someone I like to model myself on as there are so many great aspects to his game.
• What’s your favourite stadium you have played in?
I’d have to say Old Trafford. We played against Man Utd there in the Youth Cup final and it was a surreal experience.
• How did you become a goalkeeping?
I became a goalkeeper aged 7 for a local Sunday league team. Although for the first few games I played up front the manager quickly decided I’d be better suited as the goalkeeper! When I was young I was always tall so my parents encouraged me to stay in goal. I still played up front for my school team though! I was selected for the United Academy through attending a walk on programme for young keepers, my Dad would pick me up from school on a Friday and we’d go straight to training.
• Looking back as a goalkeeper coming through the ranks what did you find tough and what would you suggest to any young goalkeeper in that position to work on?
As a young player coming through the academy I’d say one of the hardest things is the sacrifices you have to make. Training nearly every evening and the games on the weekend were great but you rarely get to see friends which is quite difficult as a young lad. I would say to any young keeper, work on the basics of handling and footwork etc, it is repetitive but you have to do it.
• Your involved with the England set up, when you meet up how does that differ compared to back at your club?
I’ve been away a few times now and as well as it being a massive honour I always really enjoy the trips. The training is brilliant and it’s a great test to come up against quality Premier League players. Also each time I’ve been away with England I feel like I’ve improved as a player. Its not all work though as there is a lot of downtime and a few of the lads get involved on the Xbox playing Fifa and Call Of Duty.
• Mistakes are always going to happen how do you stay mentally tough when errors do occur?
Yes, as a goalkeeper when you make a mistake it usually ends up as a goal. So the key to bounce back from an error is to look and what you should’ve done and correct that in your mind. Then focus on the things you’re going to do in the next game. Because when you focus on the positive things you want to do it leaves no room for negative thinking.
• You wear Selsport gloves with the Wrappa Classic being your chosen favourite, what do you like about Selsport gloves and what are the important factors for you when choosing a glove?
I’ve been wearing the Selsport Wrappa Classic gloves for over 3 seasons now. For me they are the best gloves out there. I really like the comfort, solid reliable grip and the simplicity of the design. I’ve always worn roll finger gloves and the Wrappa Classic are the comfiest and best I’ve tried. But different goalkeepers I know have a different preference to the palm design of the glove. The main thing is having confidence in your glove so that you can concentrate on the game.
• What have you got your sights on for this season?
From a personal point of view my aim is to become a better goalkeeper come the end of the season. So I’ll achieve that by playing games and working on different aspects in training as the season progresses. From a team viewpoint Sheffield United are a massive club and we all need to work hard to get us up the League and into the Championship.
A brilliant interview, Thank you George for taking time to talk to us @Selsport, good luck for the rest of the season.