Rising star making all the right moves
FOOTBALL: Uncapped midfielder Massimo Luongo insists he is over the moon to be included in the Socceroos' squad for the friendly against Ecuador in London tomorrow morning.
Luongo is also eligible to represent Indonesia or Italy, and could well have turned his back on his home country after being treated poorly in the under-20 national team.
The 21-year-old was criticised by Dutch coach Jan Versleijen when part of the Young Socceroos' set-up after getting injured in a training session, with his commitment questioned.
Thankfully for Socceroos football fans, Luongo stuck solid to his Australian roots, and didn't defect like Josip Simunic and Joey Didulica both did to Croatia.
Luongo joined England's League One outfit Swindon Town, from Tottenham and was picked for Australia after his impressive form for the Robins, already notching up more than 40 appearances.
He played just one game for Spurs, after biding his time in the youth team and on the fringes of the first XI.
"It feels good. I'm quite excited being here. I was a bit nervous at first, to meet all the people, staff and coaches," Luongo said.
"I've been a bit unsettled and it's been all about getting my name out there for the past three or four years."
While he might find it hard to dislodge incumbent midfielders Mark Milligan and Mile Jedinak, national coach Ange Postecoglou rates Luongo highly.
Postecoglou has spoken with Spurs manager Tim Sherwood, who also said Luongo impressed during his time at the London club.
The youngster, whose father was born in Italy and mother in Indonesia, is delighted to now be highly regarded in Socceroos circles.
"I think now that I've moved to Swindon I've settled down a bit. I'm here now so I'm making the right moves," Luongo said.
"I'm happy to be here and I've been acknowledged. That's probably the biggest step so far.
"If I get on (tomorrow morning) it's just a bonus and then I can show what I'm about."
Fellow fresh face Curtis Good, a central defender, is the youngest member of the squad to face Ecuador.
He is 20 and impressed Postecoglou while playing for the national under-22 team in the Asian Football Confederation Championship in Oman late last year.
Good is expected to start against Ecuador alongside Western Sydney's Matthew Spiranovic.