Glowing references led to Birmingham City's signing of long-serving Burnley defender Kevin Long
The 32-year-old defender moved to Burnley from Cork City in 2010 and went on to make 91 appearances in all competitions for the club.
The centre back, who featured against Istanbul Basaksehir and Olympiakos during the Clarets' Europa League adventure in 2018, also earned 17 caps for his country having made his debut for the Republic of Ireland against Mexico.
However, the defender, who had loan spells with Accrington Stanley, Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK Dons, slipped down the pecking order under Vincent Kompany's reign, making the 18-man matchday squad just once, ironically at St Andrews in October.
After signing a short-term deal with Birmingham City, he said: "I am really looking forward to it, to be honest. It has been a tough season for me personally at Burnley. Being at Burnley has been a big part of my career since I moved to England at 19 and it has just felt like the right time to move on. Birmingham is a massive club and I am really excited to be here."
Blues boss John Eustace didn't waste any time in getting the deal wrapped up after making his move. The ex-Coventry City, Stoke City, Watford and Derby County midfielder, concluded the deal within 24 hours after hearing a number of glowing references for his latest signing.
Speaking about Long, who played 48 times in the Premier League, the 43-year-old said: “We have got a lot of injuries at the moment especially in that centre back area,” he said. “Kevin was made available to us yesterday (Wednesday). He is a player of Premier League experience, he has been in a fantastic environment over the last 12 years under Sean Dyche and Vincent Kompany.
“I spoke to the chaps in Ireland about him and they gave him a glowing reference so he is going to come in and help the group. He can play anywhere along the back three, he can play full back, he’s a good size – 6ft 2ins. And the most important thing for me as well is he is coming in with a point to prove.
“He is hungry. He hasn’t played games this season so he can’t wait to get going. Whoever comes into to the group I have said have got to be the right character and speaking to a lot of people about Kevin, he is the right character.”