Swindon’s Aussie star flying after Spurs

EXCLUSIVE: Aussie midfielder Massimo Luongo has no regrets leaving Tottenham for Swindon Town after making a strong start to his career with the Robins.

Luongo joined the League One club permanently in August, after a loan spell last season, and has been in stellar form at the County Ground.

The 21-year old has played every game in the league and cup for Swindon this season and has already scored six goals.

Luongo, who netted once in his seven appearances for the Robins while on loan last season, has reportedly caught the eye of Championship clubs with his impressive displays.

The former Sydney Olympic junior moved to Tottenham in 2011 but made one just senior appearance for Spurs, in the League Cup, during his two years at White Hart Lane.

“I’m definitely enjoying it,” Luongo said of the switch. “I’m fortunate enough to have scored a few goals.

“I feel comfortable and settled here in Swindon, and hopefully I’ll keep doing well and make the playoffs.

“I feel like I’ve got a secure spot in the team. The manager’s happy with me. He talks to me so often and tells me how I’m doing, what he wants from me, and I’ve got a fair bit of responsibility in the team which is why I start most of the games.”

Luongo has no regrets about his departure from Tottenham and says the competitive nature of football in League One has helped his development.

“People ask me that because they think dropping down to League One is not the best,” he said.

“Previously I thought dropping down would be a bad decision, but I’m playing every game and I think it might set me up for a better move in the future.

“Personally, when I was in Australia I didn’t know much about it. I never really saw myself coming in and dropping down to play League One.

“But being in it… you’ve got 40-something games in a season, league games, cup games, FA Cup games and the standard is good.

“Obviously you’re not playing with international players or world-class players but they make up for it by their tackling and the rough side of the game - it’s 100 miles an hour.

“Technical players get caught out in League One because when they’re on the ball they’ve got no time on the ball to do anything.

“When I was at Ipswich I was a bit naïve on how they played and so I saw myself getting caught a little bit, but now I’ve experienced it and got used to it and it’s helped me develop outside of the game. It definitely taught me to play a different side of the game.”

One of the highlights for Luongo this season has been Swindon Town’s Capital One Cup clash against Chelsea, won 2-0 by the Blues.

“That was pretty exciting,” the young Aussie said. “No-one was expecting to get a result but just to showcase what we can do.

“We try and play football at Swindon and we held them to 2-0 so couldn’t feel too bad about that.

“Playing against (Michael) Essien and Ramires and (Juan) Mata, you see them on TV and you think oh he’s not that tall or he’s not that big.”

Robins’ manager Mark Cooper has given Luongo a free role in Swindon’s midfield, one the Sydneysider is relishing. Already he has attracted interest from bigger clubs.

“I don’t know much about it,” Luongo said. “My agent likes to keep it on the lowdown. I’m not worried about it.

“It’s nice to hear when clubs come in for you like that. (But) I just like getting game time and playing well. I’m happy to stay in Swindon at the moment.”

Luongo has been called into junior and emerging national team camps before but never represented Australia at any level.

He admits being overlooked has been disappointing but remains focused on helping Swindon push for honours and potential promotion, with the club currently in seventh position on the table.

“It’s not really at the back of my mind or anything, it’s something that I just let happen,” Luongo said.

“If it doesn’t I’m not too worried about it. I worry more about playing for Swindon. Obviously if I get called up it would be brilliant, but its something that hopefully if I don’t get called up I just get noticed if I’m doing well. If I’m doing well they’ll notice that.”

As for how the Robins are tracking, he said: “I think we’re good enough to get in there. We haven’t been as consistent as we like but we’re definitely thinking about promotion.”