Socceroos call-up Massimo Luongo was almost lost to the national team set up after he fell out with former Young Socceroos boss Jan Versleijen and was left on the sidelines despite being signed by Tottenham Hotspur.
Midfielder Luongo, 21, is one of several new faces called up by Ange Postecoglou for his squad to face Ecuador in London next month - but it comes after years of apparently being out of favour.
Luongo joined Spurs as a teenager in 2011 and trained alongside stars like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric between loan spells where he impressed at Ipswich Town and Swindon Town.
Although unable to break into the star-studded first team at Spurs, Sydney-born Luongo secured a permanent move to Swindon this season in a $700,000, three year transfer deal and has shone ever since, scoring six in 31 League One appearances this season.
But he has struggled to make an impact on the national team radar, making just two appearances for the U20s and overlooked for the U20s World Cup in 2011.
And he told Australian FourFourTwo last year how he had been bitterly disappointed at his treatment in camp by then U20s coach Versleijen.
“He didn’t like me basically," Luongo told FourFourTwo.com. "He said I don’t work hard enough.
"But at Tottenham I’m the hard working midfielder. I was injured in that camp and couldn’t run, that’s why.
"They tried to push me. I tried but I couldn’t even run. He was having a go at me saying, 'You need to run more'. And I said I’m struggling to even run."
At the time - although also eligible to play for Italy through his father and Indonesia through his mother's side of the family - Luongo was still holding out for another call-up to the green and gold...but under Holger Osieck, it looked unlikely until Ange Postecoglou replaced the German and brought Luongo back into the fold.
“I want to play for Australia, if I make it big here hopefully," he said last June. "I don’t find any interest in playing for Italy. It’s Australia for me but it’s out of my hands right now.”
But despite that, Luongo isn't considering a return to play in his home country at club level any time soon, ruling out any move to the A-League which he bypassed to move direct to the UK from his junior days at APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
He added: “English football is somewhere where I’d like to make my name in.
"And the lifestyle here’s just all football, football. I like living here. I’m not homesick one bit.”