QPR midfielder enjoying spell back in his preferred role
PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 03:18 12 February 2016
Massimo Luongo has revealed that a change in position has helped him to secure a regular spot in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s starting XI – and the Australian has vowed to use that as the catalyst to take his game from strength to strength.
During Chris Ramsey’s reign in charge at Loftus Road, the midfielder was one of QPR’s stand-out performers.
But, following the change of management at the beginning of November, the 23-year-old found himself on the sidelines for over two months, failing to make a single first-team appearance.
Indeed, Luongo had to wait a month to feature under new boss Hasselbaink, eventually coming on as an 85th-minute substitute in a 2-1 home defeat to promotion-chasing Hull City.
Since then he has flourished, though – starting and finishing five of the last six games – and Luongo has no doubt that reverting back to his prefered position in the middle of the park has played a big role in that upturn in fortunes.
He told the Times: “I can offer a lot more as one of the two in midfield rather than as a No10, where, in this team, you’re played more as a forward and running in behind.
“It’s not the greatest job in the world where I’m playing now, but it’s definitely where I believe I am most effective. It’s a team job and I like to be in the centre of it all and be a main figure in there.
“I think Ale [Faurlin] and myself complement each other’s game well. We played a lot together in pre-season so that was a huge help. Hopefully we can keep it going in there.
“I was playing in different positions early on in the season and I’ve had three different managers all putting across their points of views and advice, so of course it’s taken time for me to adjust to everything in such a short space of time.
“There’s more to come from me, though, definitely. On the whole I’ve been happy with my performances this season. I’m just pleased to be out there again and I’m comfortable in the position where I’m playing now.
“It was obviously frustrating watching from the sidelines, but at the same time I learnt a lot too. I didn’t let my guard down and was watching and listening to the advice put my way to improve my game and force myself back into the manager’s plans.
“I didn’t shut my eyes or cause any sort of fuss. I was always hopeful my chance would come again in the first team and it has now, so I’m just going to continue what I’ve been doing recently.”
The Rs are now preparing to host west London rivals Fulham on Saturday (kick-off 12:30pm) – and Luongo insists Rangers are a very different proposition now to the side which were thumped 4-0 at Craven Cottage in September.
“That result is in the past and has been put to bed. It was a very bad day at the office,” he said. “We’re a completely different side now. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but I feel a lot more confident on the pitch now than I was then, and as a team we are too.
“We’ve picked up a few positive results recently and have been picking up clean sheets too, so we’ve given ourseleves a real platform to build on now.”