Luongo growing into Socceroo role

Rising midfield star Massimo Luongo says he felt the sweltering Brisbane conditions in his first full match in Socceroos’ colours, but is confident of being in top shape when Australia plays China in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.

Luongo was once again one of the standout Socceroos players in his advanced midfield role, but noticeably faded towards the end of the 1-0 loss to South Korea as the hot and humid conditions took their toll.

The 22-year-old is used to much cooler climes when he plays for his English club side, Swindon Town, but insisted he was relishing the opportunity to take on an ever more important role in the Australian team.

“I think that was probably my first 90 minutes for the Socceroos,” he said.

“It was a tiring one, I tried to do as much of a shift as I could.

“I am getting comfortable and I’m enjoying getting on the ball and trying to create things.”

Though he is not used to playing in temperatures in the 30s at club level, Luongo said the Socceroos had received ideal preparations leading into the tournament.

“I’m feeling a bit tired, but we’ve got five days and it’s nothing I haven’t had before, backing up games over in England, so I know what to do and how to prepare for the next game.

“We had a tough week before the first game in Melbourne, and that was hot, so we’re quite used to it.

“We’ve got five days, so we’ve got an extra day compared to the other games.

“Everything we do is recovery until the last training session, we’ll be fine.”

Australia created a host of opportunities throughout the match but could not find the net, and Luongo, one of those teeing up chances for his teammates, believes the side did most things right on the night.

“It was a tough game, whether or not we made it tough on ourselves, maybe a little bit.

“Everyone put a shift in, it was a tough shift, it was a good shift – everyone did the right things and we created loads of chances and that’s what you want to do.”

The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.