Dan the man with deal
Long delighted to hold on to U21 talent
Keith Long says he's delighted that Bohemians have managed to tie down star midfielder Daniel Mandroiu until the end of next season so they can fend off any interest from foreign clubs or rival teams here.
But the Bohs boss also knows that managing the young player, who Long says has the potential to "light up the league", has its frustrations.
"He's as talented as anyone I have worked with," says Long of Ballymun lad Mandroiu, the hero for the Gypsies over the weekend as his stunning free-kick earned Bohs a 1-1 draw away to St Patrick's Athletic on Friday night.
"In terms of coaching Mandroiu has to be right up there in terms of ability. It can be frustrating, he is mercurial by nature, but what a signing he has been for us."
And Long is very relieved that the Phibsboro club have agreed a new deal with Mandroiu, which will keep him at the club until the end of the 2020 season.
A batch of young players, like Mandroiu, James Talbot, James Finnerty and Conor Levingston, have all blossomed for Bohs this season in what is the players' first taste of senior football.
Due to the budgetary constraints at the part-time club, Bohs fans have, to their frustration, watched an annual exodus of talent from Dalymount Park to rival clubs.
And with the success of Mandroiu and company this term there was the same fear that other clubs here could offer bigger wages and full-time football while a return to the UK could also be on the cards for lads who had been away, at Brighton (Mandroiu), Wolves (Levingston), Aston Villa (Finnerty) and Sunderland (Talbot).
So that fresh deal for Ireland U21 cap Mandroiu is good news for Long as he prepares his side to do battle again tonight, away to a Dundalk side which has won seven of its last eight games.
"We have extended his contract for another year which is fantastic as it means we can plan for the future with Danny and I am delighted to have done that," added Long.
Managing a talent like his is not easy, the Bohs boss admitted. "The talented players do cause you those moments. But the best players in world football don't frustrate, they always deliver," he said.
"Danny's still young, he's developing and learning. Remember, he's 20 years of age, this is his first taste of senior football, there is accountability, there is results at the end of the game.
"He can be frustrating because he does have all the tools. He has power, he has strength, he's technically good. He has an eye for a pass, he's not afraid of working, he will put a shift in, but maybe he needs to do a little bit more of that at times.
"Technically, he's as good as we got.
"He's easy on the eye but we need a little bit more from Danny at times, outside of the ball.
"But when you're trying to create, you've got to be willing to give the ball away and sometimes that's what Danny does by trying to be creative.
"He does frustrate, of course he does. But we've got to be willing to give the ball away a bit in order to be creative."
Mandroiu's free-kick got Bohs out of a hole away to Pat's on Friday night as that draw ended their losing streak, but it's a challenge for the Gypsies to go again this evening at Oriel Park with an injury-hit squad.
"They showed character in the second half against Pat's because we questioned certain things at half time.
"I think we got the response in the second half, because they were excellent," added Long.
"Their hunger was there, their desire, we were first to most balls.
"And the one thing we have, they will always try, even against Dundalk when we were beaten well, they never gave up. They have that in abundance, that character and spirit in the team and we have to draw up on that now we are running on empty."