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:

2pm Update: Ten now held by police in anti-slavery operation + video and pictures

Oxford Mail:

8:04am Thursday 26th March 2015

TEN people have now been arrested by police following this morning's raids targeting slavery in the city.

Council says millions more are needed to protect children from sex exploitation

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

MILLIONS in extra funding is needed to cope with the rising problem of child sex exploitation across Oxfordshire.

Former Oxford schoolgirl wins Waterstone's children's book prize for debut novel

Oxford Mail:

8:00pm Thursday 26th March 2015

A FORMER Oxford schoolgirl has won the Best Young Fiction category at the Waterstone's Children’s Book Prze awards.

Witney woman jailed for causing the death of a pensioner by dangerous driving in Curbridge

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:34pm Thursday 26th March 2015

A 58-year-old woman has been jailed after causing the death of a pensioner by dangerous driving.

Trees and wasteland caught fire between Yarnton and the Peartree Interchange

Oxford Mail:

6:33pm Thursday 26th March 2015

A FIRE that blazed through trees and wasteland between Yarnton and the Peartree Interchange has been put out.

Video: Large turn-out to salute return to Britain of soldier Jamie Sawyer after his death in Cyprus

Oxford Mail:

5:37pm Thursday 26th March 2015

SERVICEMEN, veterans, family and friends joined members of the Carterton community this afternoon to pay their respects at the repatriation of Private Jamie Lee Sawyer this afternoon.

Teenage girl from Bicester goes missing again, last seen in Headington

Oxford Mail:

3:07pm Thursday 26th March 2015

A TEENAGE girl has gone missing from Bicester for the second time in a month.

Naked Rambler loses euro court challenge to be nude in public

Oxford Mail:

7:01am Thursday 26th March 2015

THE European Court of Human Rights has rejected a final legal challenge brought by the man known as the Naked Rambler over claims he had a right to be nude in public.

Three people burned as they were forced to flee house fire in Minster Lovell

Oxford Mail: Fire engine Oxfordshire

12:26pm Thursday 26th March 2015

THREE people had to flee a blaze at their home in Minster Lovell, near Witney, last night.

UPDATE: A420 cleared near Tubney following accident involving lorry

Oxford Mail: a420 alert

10:02am Thursday 26th March 2015

The A420 Westbound near Appleton has been cleared after an accident involving a lorry blocking the road.

Hot party ends science festival for volcanologists

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 26th March 2015

THE Oxfordshire Science Festival came to an explosive end with a VIP reception for some of the county’s leading scientists – including volcanologists.

Story museum's latest display is quick on the draw

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 26th March 2015

THE latest offering from the Story Museum in Pembroke Street is shifting the emphasis away from the verbal, and into the visual.

GOLF: Eddie Pepperell eyeing major chance

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

Abingdon golfer Eddie Pepperell believes the US PGA Championship in August is his best chance of playing at a major this year.

Children see the world from a new point of view

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 26th March 2015

THESE pupils had the world at their fingertips as they swapped the classroom for a giant balloon.

 

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