Football's a family affair for Massimo
Luongo is in line to make his debut for the Socceroos next week after being selected in the 23-man squad to face Ecuador at the Den. It’s been a long journey for the talented midfielder, who grew up playing in Sydney, before departing for the UK to try his luck with Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager.
Struggling to break into the star-loaded Spurs first-team, with just one senior appearance in the League Cup, Luongo went on loan to Ispwich and Swindon Town. Last year the 21-year old joined Swindon permanently and he has excelled at the County Ground, racking up 41 appearances and six goals this season.
After being overlooked for Australian national teams in the past, Luongo said it was a dream come true to be selected.
“It’s a big thing for me,” he said. “It’s a big honour. I’ve always wanted to play for my country.”
The APIA Leichhardt junior was first introduced to football by his Italian father, who hails from the small village of Ascoli.
“He got me into football when I was younger,” Luongo said. “He was always on the sidelines screaming.”
Luongo revealed his father had heard about his selection on TV.
“Yeah it was a big surprise for him,” he said. “He was pretty stoked.”
Luongo has been a revelation at Swindon and has cemented his place in the Robins’ midfield. He was recently rested for Swindon’s mid-week match against Crawley Town but will be back to face Crewe this weekend.
“The gaffer said you need a rest, both mentally and physically,” he said. “To be fair, I did need it.”
Luongo can operate as an attacking midfielder or in a holding role, but is unsure where Ange Postecoglou wants him to play at this stage.
“I’m not really too bothered [where I play],” he said. “At Swindon I’m a box-to-box midfielder. I’m not too sure how the Socceroos play.”
Swindon currently sit in eighth place in League One, six points behind sixth-place Peterborough. A play-off place remains the Robins’ goal.
“It will be difficult,” Luongo admits. “We need to rely on the results of other teams in front us. All we can do is just keep winning.”