Shane Long makes fairytale return to Reading 11 years after transfer exit following Southampton contract expiring | The Sun

SHANE LONG has completed a "fairytale" return back "home" to Reading.

Long, 35, has gone back to Berkshire as a free agent after his contract with Southampton ran out in June.

The striker is ecstatic to be home after 11 years and has signed a one-year deal with the Royals.

Long told the Championship outfit's official website: "It’s been eleven years!

"But I have fond memories of the club that gave me my first chance to play football in England and I am delighted to get the opportunity to come back.

“The club has come on leaps and bounds; I’m sat here in an unbelievable training ground and I am excited about what the future holds. Reading is a massive club, and one I am proud to be a part of.”

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Long added: "These first couple of days is all about returning home, but after that it is about business as usual.

"Work hard like I always do, and give everything I’ve got for the club, and hopefully I can hit the ground running in the first game."

Long first joined Reading in 2005 from Cork and amassed a total of 54 goals and 28 assists in 202 matches.

The Republic of Ireland international left the club in 2011 for West Brom before joining Hull three years later.

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The centre-forward then signed with Southampton a few months later and spent eight years at St Mary's, one of which saw him going out on loan to Bournemouth last year.

Reading manager Paul Ince is excited to have him in his squad after his "fairytale" return.

Ince said: "The arrival of Shane is something of a football fairytale for Reading fans.

"But make no mistake about it – he is coming into the dressing room purely on the merits of what he can offer this squad out on the pitch.

"Experience, energy, leadership, desire and a natural instinct you need to score goals.

"Shane will be an important addition to the group we are patiently trying to build and grow."

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