Championship

Sheffield Wednesday: Massimo Luongo hopes to give Garry Monk selection headache

Sheffield Wednesday: Massimo Luongo hopes to give Garry Monk selection headache

Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo hopes to give head coach Garry Monk a selection headache after the international break, as the start to his Owls career has not been what he expected.

Luongo moved to Hillsborough on Deadline Day this summer from Queens Park Rangers, and has had to be patient for his opportunity to break into the starting line-up having been a regular on the teamsheet at Loftus Road.

Luongo started 41 Championship encounters for QPR last season, after being fielded in the opening XI 38 times in 2017/18 and 35 times in 16/17 (WhoScored), with his minutes on the field also continually rising year-on-year.

The Australia international has only tasted 193 minutes of action since his summer switch, and concedes that he thought he would have been in line for more than a single start in the opening weeks of the term.

He started his first league game for Wednesday at the weekend in the Owls’ win over Wigan Athletic, and scoring the winning goal has sparked confidence in Luongo to give Monk a dilemma over who he starts against Cardiff once the international break is over.

“I am buzzing that I got on the scoresheet,” Luongo said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Post. “I have not been part of the team as much as I thought I would have been when I signed.

“It gives the manager a headache now for the next game, and that is all I want to do. If he has to take me out of the squad, I can go in and say I believe I should start. All I want to do is give him a problem with the starting line-up.

“I am 27-years-old and I have been playing for a long time in the Championship, and all I want to do is help Sheffield Wednesday go as far as we can.”

Luongo went on to add that part of the reason why he has not featured as often as he would have liked has been down to his relationships still developing with the other Sheffield Wednesday players.

“I knew coming into the team, especially signing on Deadline Day, that I would have to be patient,” he said. “The team had already started the season, and I am away with the international team a lot, which doesn’t help.

“It’s a new team, new players and nobody really knows me. I haven’t got a relationship with the players on the pitch, that comes after years. You look at the way Barry [Bannan] and [Steven Fletcher] combine – they have been playing together for years. That will come, I just need to be around it more and the only way to do that is to keep performing well and hopefully keep winning.”

Luongo certainly put together a solid case as to why Monk should consider starting him against Cardiff with his game-winning performance against Wigan, but the Australian will need to recover from the minor knee issue which saw that he withdrew from the Socceroos squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

If the issue is not severe, Monk should have no burning need to take the 27-year-old out of his plans, as Luongo offered an all-around presence in the middle against the Latics.

As well as his game-winning goal, Luongo played one key ball from 32 passes – 71.8% of which were accurate – along with one tackle and three successful aerial duels, more than any other Owls midfielder, per WhoScored data.

Sheffield Wednesday fans, is Luongo now one of the first names on Monk’s teamsheet? Let us know in the comments below…

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