Good things come to those who wait, as the old adage suggests, and that’s certainly the case for Clarets defender Kevin Long.
The 26-year-old has had to be patient since joining the club from Cork City as a teenager, with Owen Coyle engineering the move during his tenure at Turf Moor.
The goal from the outset was to feature in the Premier League but a change in management, leading to Brian Laws’ appointment, saw the Irishman’s circumstances change.
Long was loaned out to Accrington Stanley for a prolonged period, with the later spell sanctioned by Eddie Howe, and went on to feature for Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK Dons.
The central defender was handed his first taste of top flight football by Sean Dyche – in the midst of those temporary moves away – on New Year’s Day in 2015 as the Clarets drew 3-3 with Newcastle United at St James’s Park, but his experience lasted just 20 minutes after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury.
But he battled back and Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom on home soil marked his first start at this level and his first senior start for the club in almost three-and-a-half years.
I’ve been at the club seven years, when I first arrived the goal was to play in the Premier LeagueKevin Long
“I’ve been at the club seven years, when I first arrived the goal was to play in the Premier League,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming but I’m delighted.
“I came as a 19-year-old so that was the aim, but when I came I wasn’t proven so I had to go on various loan spells and prove myself at different levels, but the goal was always to play in the PL so I was happy to do that today.
“It was definitely worth waiting for. It’s a box ticked off. All my loan spells have come at a lower level so there’s always that little bit of doubt and ‘can you play in the Premier League?’.
“I was excited more than anything during the build-up this week and I was happy I got to play.”