The 25-year old QPR star who might hold the key to Socceroos World Cup success
With many international pundits giving Australia little chance of progressing beyond the group stage at the World Cup, Massimo Luongo is one player who could make a difference20 April 2018 | James Evans
Whilst the Socceroos are amongst the outsiders for this year's World Cup, one of their ranks looks likely to form the centrepiece of a revolution happening in the English Championship.
Queens Park Rangers have been known as a side who like to spend. Under the watchful eye of Flavio Briatore, they splurged vast amounts of cash on many big-name stars a few seasons ago in a bid to bring the Premier League title to West London.
It wasn’t successful and they found themselves relegated with a big wage bill and unsustainable business model.
In recent seasons, they’ve slowly filtered out the high earners and built a side around ambitious youngsters and previously undiscovered talent. This season, players such as Paul Smyth, Ebere Eze and Ryan Manning have broken into the first team and settled quickly.
They haven’t pulled up any tree, broken any records or troubled the top six, but they have consolidated and seemingly begun to find a rhythm. Much of the reason for the youngster’s integration is down to the Australian international Massimo Luongo.
He’s taken the scenic route to become one of the Championships most sought-after midfielders. As a former Spurs trainee, he turned many heads, but instead of a life of privilege, he ended up plying his trade with Swindon Town. It was a familiar tale: failure to break through at a big club led to a series of loan moves and ultimately, released.
He rebuilt his reputation at Swindon with some all-action displays. He’s comfortable on the ball, distributes it well and can be relied upon to produce the unexpected. When QPR paid £3.5m for his services, along with those of his teammate Ben Gladwin, few eyebrows were raised. It’s not a decadent sum for a Championship side to pay and Luongo had been impressing.
With the World Cup approaching and Australia sat at 300/1 outsiders in the latest football odds, news that one of their younger players is hitting form will be incredibly welcome.
In fact, Luongo is turning heads across the football world with a series of brilliant displays. His club manager, Ian Holloway, has claimed he is just getting ‘better and better’, adding if he carries on then he’ll have ‘some player' on his hands. It isn’t just his own manager he’s impressing, either.
Aston Villa are reported to be interested in the 25-year-old, perhaps to link up with fellow Australian Mile Jedinak as they hunt a return to the top flight. Other sides mentioned include Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, all ambitious enough to spot a top player when they see one.
massimo luongo, qpr, socceroos, world cup 2018