Luongo relishing Redknapp reunion against Jordan

Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo is looking forward to showing his former Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp just how far he has come when the Socceroos tackle Jordan in their FIFA World Cup qualifying group decider in Sydney on Tuesday night.


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It was Redknapp who handed a raw Luongo - now 23 - his Spurs debut in a League Cup tie against Stoke City back in 2011, with the rookie missing a penalty in a shootout as Spurs exited the competition.

And it was Redknapp who late last year said that Luongo's subtle passing game and technical qualities would not be out of in place in an Arsenal shirt.

With Redknapp’s first of his two matches in charge of Jordan yielding a thrumping 8-0 win over Bangladesh on Thursday, Redknapp's side go into their tussle with Australia two points adrift of the Group B leader and needing a win to top the section.

Luongo, who scored Australia's opener in their 7-0 slaying of Tajikistan, describes the subplot of his reunion with Redknapp as "interesting" as he bids to do his bit in ensuring Australia reach the final stage of qualifying for Russia 2018.

“It’s interesting to see Harry in charge there and it will definitely add a bit of extra spice and extra publicity to the game. But whoever coaches Jordan was always going to be a tough game regardless," he said.

“We got taught a bit of lesson away at their place (in losing 2-0 last October) and we just have it make it right, and be at our best regardless.

“We are at home. We have a big advantage and have everything going for us at the moment.

“Hopefully it can be a good night for us. Besides me I don’t think there’s anybody with any ties towards him, so it won’t matter too much to anybody else outside of myself.”

Luongo, who trained regularly with Tottenham's first team towards the end of Redknapp’s tenure, recalls a manger that focused more on the big picture than the nitty-gritty.

“He oversaw a lot of things, maybe more of an old school manager who had his coaching staff help him a lot (Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan) with the day-to-day training, “he remembers.

“He picked the team and had a few words here and there. He would concentrate more on the match-winner type players, like Gareth Bale, players who would change the game for you. It was more individual messages to them.

“He tried to make them comfortable and not feel the pressure, thinking If they shine then everybody else will come through tend to do well also.

"When I came on against Stoke, he just said to go out there get on the ball and to do my thing. The tactical stuff came probably more from his assistants. 

Now, thriving at Queens Park Rangers - the last club team managed by Redknapp - Luongo said: “At Spurs I don’t think he knew too much about me until I made my debut. I don’t think it was until I was at Swindon and we played QPR in a cup game a few years later that maybe he had a few flashbacks of me at Spurs, and maybe then realised a bit more what I am about.”

Luongo doesn’t believe that Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will buy into any Harry hype.

“I doubt he will see it as a personal challenge. We have played big teams at the World Cup and since then and Ange is used coming up against big name coaches. I don’t see him buying too much into that stuff,” he said.

“He’s more laid-back than I am and whoever we play he will back himself regardless. Ange knows that whoever we play we can cause problems, and he's made it clear that he wants us to be up there with the better teams in the world.”

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4 min read
Published 25 March 2016 at 2:38pm
By David Lewis