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Confident Luongo ready for Socceroos test


Socceroos star Massimo Luongo is confident he can maintain his position in the heart of QPR’s midfield and head into next month’s crucial World Cup qualifiers in peak condition.

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Luongo has endured a mixed start to his career with the English Championship club, following his $5 million move from Swindon last May.

He was frozen out of the first team picture by former caretaker manager Neil Warnock, having been a regular starter under Chris Ramsey before his sacking in November.

The 23-year-old was inactive for over two months before new manager Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink restored him to the side in January where he has remained for the last five matches following a string of impressive performances.

Hasslebaink admitted last week he was initially unsure if Luongo had what it took to cut it in the physical nature of the Championship but heaped praise on the Sydneysider after he excelled in a deeper midfield role.

The former Chelsea striker also rejected an attempt by MK Dons to sign the Asian Cup MVP, and showed more faith in the Australian by offloading midfielders Leroy Fer and Sandro in the transfer window.

The exits of Fer and Sandro leaves Luongo in pole position to be an automatic starter at Loftus Road, news that will be music to the ears of Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou ahead of next month’s must-win World Cup qualifiers against Tajikstan and Jordan.

Six points will guarantee the Socceroos a spot in the third stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and a match-hardened Luongo and Mile Jedinak, who’s back in favour at Crystal Palace, will be crucial, especially against a decent Jordan side that beat the Asian champions 2-0 in Amman last October.

“It’s hard to get motivated for Monday morning training when you don’t play or get a brief cameo at the end of a game,” Luongo said of his time on the sidelines on QPR’s Access All R’s midweek online TV chat show.

“But it’s part of football and I just had to keep my fitness up in training and be ready if I was called upon.

“The manager told me I had to work on the side of my game where I haven’t got the ball at my feet and I’ve tried hard to do that.

“It’s a new task and I think I’ve been doing it well. I have a long way to go to reach my peak but this will benefit my development wherever I end up in my career.”


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