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 U's News 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:

Mum-of-two from Oxfordshire leads fight against Ebola

Oxford Mail:

5:43pm Wednesday 17th September 2014

A mum-of-two from Oxfordshire has become the first person in the world to be injected with an Ebola gene as part of a city-led battle against the deadly virus.

Delays for drivers at junction nine of the M40

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

4:37pm Wednesday 17th September 2014

A broken-down car is causing delays on the M40 southbound near Bicester.

Escaped prisoner arrested in Oxford

Oxford Mail:

2:25pm Wednesday 17th September 2014

An escaped prisoner was arrested in Oxford this morning along with a man and a woman.

New: Get Oxford Mail news alerts sent direct to your phone via Whatsapp

Oxford Mail: Whats App logo

11:50am Tuesday 3rd June 2014

OXFORD Mail readers can now sign up to get major breaking news alerts sent direct to their mobile phones with a new service using Whatsapp.

Set for a battle of Blenheim over 1,500 homes plan

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Tuesday 9th September 2014

RESIDENTS in Woodstock have vowed to “fight until the bitter end” against plans to build up to 1,500 homes east of the town.

Delays of up to 40 minutes on bus services across the county

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

9:00am Tuesday 9th September 2014

STAGECOACH Oxfordshire has warned that passengers face delays of up to 40 minutes this morning.

Harassment cop sacked for gross misconduct

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:30am Tuesday 9th September 2014

A DETECTIVE has been sacked after harassing a member of police staff, the force said yesterday.

Fears as boat owners’ group claims new area of riverbank

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Tuesday 9th September 2014

RESIDENTS say they are worried about another attempt by boat owners to grab land alongside waterways in the city.

Mum cleared of breaking baby daughter’s leg

Oxford Mail: The Horton General Hospital, Banbury

6:30am Tuesday 9th September 2014

A TEENAGER accused of breaking her baby daughter’s leg broke down in tears as she was cleared yesterday.

Oh baby! Royal fans pass on best to Kate

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Tuesday 9th September 2014

THE NEWS that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant with her second child was met with joy around the world.

Detective fired from Thames Valley Police after harassing member of police staff

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:27pm Monday 8th September 2014

A DETECTIVE has been fired from Thames Valley Police after harassing a member of police staff.

Appleton's half-time blast does the trick for Oxford United

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 8th September 2014

DANNY Hylton revealed a half-time blast from Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton was the key to a vastly-improved performance as they hit back to claim a 1-1 draw at Southend United.

Wired for fun

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 8th September 2014

OXFORDSHIRE County Council leader Ian Hudspeth opened Woodstock’s new play area by hurtling down a zip wire.

Campsfield extension would create 80 new ‘local’ jobs

Oxford Mail: The proposed centre at Arncott would be a secure site like Campsfield

8:30am Monday 8th September 2014

ABOUT 80 jobs for local people will be created if an extension goes ahead at Campsfield House immigration detention centre, Kidlington, it has been revealed.

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