Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long has retuned to Reading 17 years after he first joined the club.

The 35-year-old has signed a one-year deal with the Royals after leaving Premier League Southampton following the expiration of his contract.

The Tipperary native, who first arrived in Berkshire as an 18-year-old in June 2005, has since made 564 senior appearances for Reading, West Brom, Hull, Southampton and Bournemouth.

Long made his international debut in 2007 and has scored 17 goals in 88 games.

Royals boss Paul Ince told the Sky Bet Championship club's official website: "The arrival of Shane is something of a football fairytale for Reading fans. But make no mistake about it – he is coming into the dressing room purely on the merits of what he can offer this squad out on the pitch.

"Experience, energy, leadership, desire and a natural instinct you need to score goals… Shane will be an important addition to the group we are patiently trying to build and grow."

Long, who will train with his new team-mates for the first time on Thursday, scored his first goal for Reading after coming off the bench against Derby in December 2005, his second appearance, and his last in a Championship play-off semi-final victory over Cardiff in May 2011.