KEVIN Long is still learning on the job as a Premier League defender, but he believes he's making the grade so far.

The Republic of Ireland hadn't featured at this level until the final three games of last season, when injuries to Ben Mee and Michael Keane handed him a chance.

Long is now third choice at centre back for Burnley following Keane's departure and due to a combination of injury and suspension to Mee and James Tarkowski he has started 10 times in the top flight this season, most recently in Saturday's win at Watford.

After eight years of battling to make the grade at Turf Moor after his move from Cork City as a teenager, Long is now an established member of the squad and his Premier League exposure has propelled him into the Republic of Ireland squad.

The 27-year-old admits he still has plenty of learning to do at the highest level, but he's happy with how his season has gone so far on a personal level.

"I’ve done well. It’s new to be playing in the Premier League, I’m learning as I go, but I think I’m coping and I’m enjoying it," he said.

Long had loan spells away from Turf Moor at Accrington Stanley, Rochdale, Portsmouth, Barnsley and MK Dons before graduating to the Clarets' first team.

"At the start of my career, moving from Ireland to England happened really quickly and those loan spells came at a time when I wasn’t going to get much game time here," he said.

"I’ve needed every one of those loan spells, I learnt my trade that way and it’s stood me in good stead."

Long was involved in Burnley's latest win last weekend, the success over the Hornets making it four victories in a row for Sean Dyche's side.

The winning streak is keeping the pressure on Arsenal in sixth, who are five points clear of the Clarets, but having secured safety with 40 points recently there has been no let up from Burnley.

"Our main aim at the start of the season was to stay in the Premier League. When we achieved that goal we kicked on and we said we’ll try our hardest in every game and see how far it takes us," said Long.

"We’re doing that at the moment, we’re getting a few good wins and we just want to see where we are at the end of the season."