World Cup 2018: Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo thanks former Queens Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway for time off ahead of playing in Russia
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QPR man was allowed to miss final two games of Championship season to keep him fresh for this summer
Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo has thanked former Queens Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway for giving him time off ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
The 25-year-old was allowed to miss the final two games of the Championship season with a view to keeping him fit for the upcoming tournament in Russia.
Luongo is currently taking part in a training camp with the Socceroos ahead of the competition, and the midfielder believes being allowed to rest at the end of the term will stand him in good stead in Russia.
“It was a really generous thing that Ian did for me,” Luongo told the Socceroos’ official website.
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“Me and ‘Ollie’ had a really good relationship and we were able to talk to each other and I was comfortable enough to explain how I felt going into Christmas time.
“It is due to international games and they’ve looked after me and it was a big decision from them, but I’m really grateful. Hopefully it does pay off and I think it will.”
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Australia have been drawn in Group C for this summer’s World Cup, along with France, Denmark and Peru.
Along with his Socceroos colleagues, Luongo has been spending time at a training camp in Turkey.
And the 25-year-old has likened his country’s preparations for the competition in Russia to being a ‘mini pre-season’.
“Training has been really tough. It’s nothing specific yet, it’s just about getting used to the schedule and the tempo,” he added.
“A few boys are coming in late, but it’s been quite intense. Everyone’s quite on it and the quality’s really good.
“A few boys are feeling it, but it’s like a mini pre-season and I think everyone was expecting that.”
Luongo will have a chance to push his claims for a starting berth in Russia, with Australia playing the Czech Republic and Hungary in warm-up games on June 1 and June 7 respectively.
But the midfielder believes it is now a case of every player showing they can operate with their team mates than stand out on their own.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can do individually, anything more, at the moment; it’s all about us as a team and getting things right on the training pitch,” he said.