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Long enjoying step up

2 September 2021

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Sam Long says playing in his first two matches at senior level for the Imps has been made easier by the club’s approach to youth development.

The 18-year-old kept a clean sheet in only his second professional appearance on Tuesday night, a week after his debut against Manchester United U21s.

He said: “I’ve been training with the first-team for a year and half now so know them well enough to know how to act in different situations, I felt comfortable and experiences like this will only help me.

“I’m looking forward to what to come and hopefully more nights like this. It was a good performance and credit to the players in front of me - they were concentrated and solid for 90 minutes which can be hard when you are 3-0 up and comfortable.”

Long is one of a number of Academy graduates who have been handed professional deals, with the club looking to give them first-team experience either in the Papa John’s Trophy or with loan moves.

He added: “Having those boys around me is good because we can push each other on, but the senior players have been great for me as well - they really help me understand the different parts of the game where I’ve needed to improve.

“Just from working with them in training you can see the step up between youth and men’s football, training with them every day has helped me understand how they play and implement it into matches like this.”

Help bring through the next generation of youngsters at the club's Academy by joining the Imps Lottery. You can sign up here.

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