Luongo learns to juggle club and country

Massimo Luongo has pledged his commitment to the Socceroos despite his national team duties regularly conflicting with his club schedule at Swindon.

Luongo’s Swindon are currently in England’s third tier, where they don’t cease playing during FIFA international windows unless a side has three players away on national duty.

The return this week of Australian Brad Smith back to parent club Liverpool, means Swindon only have two recognised internationals, in Luongo and Iraq’s Yaser Kasim.

Luongo, who has emerged as Mark Bresciano’s successor in midfield, will likely miss a significant number of games for the promotion hopefuls - who are currently third in League One.

The 22-year-old could be away for most of January during the Asian Cup, while he’s also expected to be part of the Australia squad against Japan in mid-November.

“It’s something I want to be a part of obviously,” Luongo told reporters in Swindon.

“Of course (I’m looking forward to going away with Australia) but I don’t worry about it.

“If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t change my lifestyle, it doesn’t change anything.

“I‘ll just get on with Swindon and that’s all I’ll worry about. Hopefully it happens, obviously it’s good for anyone.

“When I’m there I focus on them, when I’m here I focus on Swindon.”

It’s been a whirlwind year for Luongo with the national team, only earning his first call-up for March’s 4-3 loss to Ecuador, where he debuted as a 78th minute substitute.

He was included in the 2014 World Cup squad but didn’t get on the park in any of the warm-up matches nor in Brazil.

However, he’s been involved in Australia’s past two camps, getting significant game-time and enhancing his reputation at the same time.

Luongo earned his fourth cap in last week’s friendly in Dubai against UAE, playing an hour, and said: “It was different conditions for me.

“It’s nothing I’ve experienced before. It was almost 38 degrees in the first game and we picked up a draw.

“It’s all new to me, the experience, the routines and all that.”

Luongo’s Swindon were due to take on Rochdale overnight.