Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo will be unavailable for selection for next month’s Dodoni Series against Greece, with the 23-year-old's wife due to give birth to the couple’s first child.
The QPR star is expected to be part of the Socceroos squad that takes on England at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on 28 May but will return to London when Ange Postecoglou’s squad head home for friendlies in Sydney (4 June) and Melbourne (7 June).
Luongo was 10-years-old when the Socceroos triumphed 3-1 against England at Upton Park in 2003 and is looking forward to experiencing two monumental moments in his life in the space of a week.
"I hate missing games but it's too soon to the baby being born for me to travel to Australia and I wouldn't have time to get back if my wife was to go into labour," Luongo told AAP.
"But like everyone else I am very excited about facing England.
"It's 13 years since the last time we played them so it really is probably a once-in-a-career opportunity.
"Although it's only a friendly and they'll have one eye on the Euros, any match between England and Australia, whether it be rugby or cricket, is always competitive because of the great rivalry between the two countries."
Luongo is about to complete his first season at Loftus Road and is hoping to be fit for a recall to QPR’s starting side this weekend having overcome a groin injury.
It’s been a turbulent campaign for the former Swindon Town midfielder, who’s worked under three managers during his 12 months at the London club.
Having battled for his spot at various stages throughout the season Luongo has also had to adjust to an unfamiliar defensive role under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
"It's been eventful and I wouldn't say it has gone smoothly my first season here," Luongo said.
"There's been two changes of managers, a lot of players coming in and out and I hadn't really experienced that before in my career.
"It was a really hard period for me. I spoke to the manager and he basically just said I needed to work on the defensive side of my game before he could trust me to play central midfield.
"It was fair enough, because at Swindon I was never asked to defend as we played all-out attack and relied on me, the wingbacks and the strikers to win games."
The result is Luongo feels he’s now a more complete player, with the Socceroos set to benefit during the final stage of AFC qualifying for Russia 2018, which kicks off against Iraq in September.
However having found the back of the net in Australia’s two most recent internationals Luongo remains hungry to open his goal account for his new club.
"With Australia I play a more advanced role as well so I've really had to work on that other side of my game," Luongo said.
"When I wasn't playing I made sure in training I played the small-sided games with real intensity. I then got my chance and I think I'm now a more complete midfielder.
"I just need to get my first QPR goal now."
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