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By ESPN Staff

Long: No need for Hutton apology

West Brom striker Shane Long insists Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton had no need to apologise for the tackle which sidelined him for a month and caused Euro 2012 play-off heartache.

Long made a quicker than expected return to action with the Baggies and scored the winner against Bolton on Saturday when it was initially feared he would be out for up to eight weeks.

At the time of the incident, Albion boss Roy Hodgson branded Hutton's challenge "vicious" and said there was "no place for challenges like that in football."

The injury ruled Long out of the Republic of Ireland's successful Euro 2012 play-off with Estonia, but he was in a benevolent mood when reflecting on the incident - even though he admits he may have been targeted by Villa.

Speaking after scoring his fourth goal of the season, Long said: "I didn't receive any apology over the tackle [from Hutton]. They obviously thought he'd done nothing wrong. There's nothing for him to apologise for.

"I'm sure he never meant to crack a bone in my leg. We move on. I'm just glad to be back. It's only been four weeks so it could have been a lot worse. I knew it was going to be a bad enough injury at the time because I hadn't felt a pain like that before.

"I was devastated because I felt I had just started to get going and the six to eight weeks diagnosis meant I would miss the whole Ireland thing. I was just angry that I knew I was going to be out for a while."

Long added: "I don't know if Villa were targeting me. I got kicked four or five times in my 10 minutes on the pitch. Maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't know, I can't really say that (being targeted), but it felt like it anyway. But I'm back now and it was nice to hit the back of the net again."

Long knows he has to continue to perform well for West Brom to ensure he is part of the Ireland squad next summer.

He said: "Ireland getting to the finals is a big thing for me. We'll obviously meet up with the national squad a few times before then. But, to get your name on the sheet in the first place, it all comes down to how you're playing at club level."

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