Hodgson accepts Long's 'optimistic' call-up

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The Independent Football

West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson diffused a potential club versus country row by insisting injured striker Shane Long's inclusion in the Republic of Ireland Euro 2012 playoff squad is "the correct decision".

Albion's medical staff believe Long will be sidelined for six weeks with the knee injury suffered during a challenge by Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton last weekend.

But Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni has named Long in the squad to face Estonia, even though the first leg is only two weeks away. Hodgson has no problem with the call-up, although he believes it may be "optimistic".

He said: "The prognosis from the doctors and medical experts is that Shane will be out for six weeks.

"But I quite understand why an important player like Shane is included in the squad because there is nothing to stop Giovanni Trapattoni being optimistic.

"There have been lots of cases in the past where people have been diagnosed with an injury which will take longer than it actually takes. So no one would be happier than ourselves if Shane recovers in two weeks and can play for Ireland in these important qualifiers.

"For me, his selection is fine. I just hope they won't be too disappointed if the doctor's prognosis turns out to be the correct one. It might turn out to be optimistic."

Hodgson was initially angry with the challenge by Hutton which went unpunished by referee Phil Dowd, and his opinion has not changed.

Hodgson said: "I've said what I have to say about Hutton's tackle. I've got nothing more to add. I haven't changed my opinion."