United loan stopper Long aiming to play for keeps

Oxford United on-loan keeper George Long says he is relishing battling it out with Max Crocombe for the No 1  jersey after the Sheffield United stopper signed a short-term deal

Oxford United on-loan keeper George Long says he is relishing battling it out with Max Crocombe for the No 1 jersey after the Sheffield United stopper signed a short-term deal

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

George Long is looking forward to a battle with Max Crocombe to become Oxford United’s first-choice goalkeeper after joining on loan yesterday.

The Sheffield United stopper, who was in the England under 21 squad last season, passed a medical yesterday and will stay at the U’s until the new year.

With Ryan Clarke possibly sidelined until late November following foot surgery, it leaves Long and Crocombe to fight for the jersey over the next fortnight.

The pair are expected to be given 45 minutes each in a behind-closed-doors game against Fulham this weekend.

Long is keen to play, after falling down the pecking order at the League One club last season and is looking forward to contesting the starting place with Crocombe.

“We have both got to push each other in training and see who gets the nod come the start of the season,” he said. “At the back end of last season I was on the bench.

“The manager (Nigel Clough) said he was going to keep it that way, so he wanted me to go out and get games.

“I’m thankful he’s allowed me to do that and come to a great team like Oxford and hopefully get some more minutes under my belt.

“As a young player that’s where you develop, getting experience through first-team games.

“It’s definitely the best option for me at the moment.”

U’s boss Michael Appleton welcomed the increased competition for the place and was delighted with the signing, his second since joining the club.

He said: “George is very highly rated and has been part of the England set-up so we are very excited to have him here.”

The two goalkeepers are both 20 and went to the U-20 World Cup in Turkey last summer.

But while New Zealand-born Crocombe, stuck behind Clarke, has only played four first-team games, Long arrives with more than 70 under his belt.

It would suggest Long is the favourite to start in the season-opener against Burton Albion in two weeks’ time, while the Blades are unlikely to want their player to swap the bench at Bramall Lane for one at the Kassam Stadium.

Clough said: “The lad will only develop further by playing games regularly and it doesn’t matter what level we are talking about.

“He is already a very good goalkeeper, but he will improve further by being exposed to different situations."

Our top stories:

Live blog: Hunt continues for Jed Allen as a town mourns murder victims

Oxford Mail:

8:11am Sunday 24th May 2015

Follow our Live and unrivalled coverage of the murder investigation in Didcot, updated throughout today

Man wanted after Didcot murders works for town council

Oxford Mail:

8:42am Monday 25th May 2015

THE MAN suspected of killing Philip Howard, Janet Jordon and Derin Jordon is employed as an apprentice gardener for Didcot Town Council.

Didcot murders: Smiling face of teenager with the sister he is suspected of killing

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

CRADLING his baby sister Derin, this is a teenage Jed Allen, the man suspected of killing her and their mother in a house in Didcot.

Didcot murders: More than 100 police officers hunt suspect in three killings

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

TRIPLE murder suspect Jed Allen was still being sought by police today in an operation involving more than 100 officers.

Missing: Police appeal to find Cowley woman Sandra McDonald

Oxford Mail:

3:06pm Monday 25th May 2015

POLICE are appealing for help to find a Cowley woman who has been missing for three days.

Top surgeon backs pro-Palestinian festival

Oxford Mail:

10:00am Monday 25th May 2015

AN OXFORD surgeon who performed Britain’s first successful heart transplant has backed the city’s first Palestine festival.

Locomotion gets festival fun moving

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 25th May 2015

BANK holiday weekend events got off on the right track on Saturday as visitors celebrated the historic locomotives on show at Didcot Railway Centre.

Fears that new Frideswide Square ‘a hazard for blind’

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Monday 25th May 2015

A REVAMPED Frideswide Square in Oxford could become a no-go area for blind people, campaigners fear.

Dogs train alongside one another at special club

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Monday 25th May 2015

SADIE the golden retriever showed off her newest tricks at a training session at the Fair Weather Dog Training Club.

Troubled families will get more help with problems

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 25th May 2015

THOUSANDS more families in Oxfordshire are set to be helped by a scheme aimed at people struggling with crime, employment, health and education.

Awe-struck crowds line city’s streets to see soldiers’ parade

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Monday 25th May 2015

FOR a moment you could have heard a pin drop as the men of 7th Battalion The Rifles lined up along St Giles.

Somewhere over the rainbow there’s a sea of charity runners

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Monday 25th May 2015

EXPLOSIONS of colour brightened up Cutteslowe Park yesterday as more than 700 runners were splattered with paint to raise money for a hospice.

Classical music rocks for young string musicians at showcase

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Monday 25th May 2015

YOUNG musicians from 50 Oxfordshire schools showed their playing skills at a special Baroque rock string day organised by Oxfordshire County Council’s music service.

City council head of planning standing down after 13 years

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Monday 25th May 2015

THE man who has overseen major planning decisions in Oxford over the past 13 years, Michael Crofton-Briggs, is standing down.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:53pm Sun 27 Jul 14

Benkiu says...

Clearly Long has as first choice, at least initially....
Clearly Long has as first choice, at least initially.... Benkiu
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree