Luongo proves 10 isn't always perfect to QPR coach Hasselbaink

Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo vowed not to return to the Queens Park Rangers bench any time soon as he helps forge a mini-revival for the Championship club.

Massimo Luongo

Source: AAP

After an eye-catching start to his new life with QPR after his off-season move from Swindon Town, Luongo inexplicably dropped out of sight in the dying embers of the rein of Chris Ramsey and didn’t find favour with caretaker coach Neil Warnock or, initially, with current incumbent Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.



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But, after rejecting offers from MK Dons and Rangers to spirit him way from Loftus Road during the transfer window, Hasselbaink handed Luongo a start in the FA Cup loss to Nottingham Forest six games ago, and the 23 year-old hasn’t looked back.

Nor have QPR, with three draws and two wins since Luongo was restored to his favoured central midfield role.

He he has the bit between his teeth going into Saturday’s visit of west London rivals Fulham – the team whose 4-0 thrashing of QPR last October saw Luongo made the scapegoat soon as he dropped off the first team radar throughout November and December.

“I needed that trust to stick my foot back in the door and I have done that and hopefully the boss has been happy with me," Luongo said.

"I don’t want to lose my spot because I know what it’s like being on the other end. It’s not nice watching your team from the bench week-in week-out and not even getting any minutes.

“I am determined not to let my position slip now. When you're out of the team there’s not much you can do.

“I just went to training and enjoyed it because it was the only thing I was getting at that time.

“I just made sure I was ready when called upon, and that cup game came along and I got my chance.”

Luongo, who has made 18 league appearances this season, never doubted what he could bring to the team, and now appears to be a key figure in Hasselbaink's planned late season surge towards the play-offs.

Despite winning the admiration and support of fans perplexed by his axing, Luongo never fully embraced being cast as No.10 earlier in the season.

“If the boss watched my previous games then I think it didn't do me any favours because I was playing higher up the pitch and it didn’t suit me at all," he said.

“I think he’d heard I was a box-to-box player, or a holding midfielder rather than a No.10. I think he always had his eye on me in my preferred position, which was good.”

Luongo is keen to dispel the impression that he is lacking in the grittier aspects of game.

“In my time at Swindon I had quite a free role and while it did a lot for me on the ball people created this illusion that off the ball I don’t do enough defensively," he said.

"But at Swindon I wasn’t asked to defend. They wanted me to create attacks.

“I think Hasselbaink saw that as one of the downsides to me but I took my chance and I showed him I can I can do both sides of the game.

"This position suits me perfectly, where I can be creative but can be hungry enough to get back and defend.

“We've stabilised in the way we play and have found a personality that we take into each game now."


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4 min read
Published 13 February 2016 at 1:42pm
By Dave Lewis
Source: SBS