Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo has withdrawn from international duty due to an injury.
The 27-year-old was due to join up with the Australian squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Nepal and Chinese Taipei. Instead he has been replaced by Dimitri Petratos, who plays for the Newcastle Jets.
Luongo has been a regular for Australia for some time now, winning 43 caps in total and scoring six times for his country (via Transfermarkt).
But according to the Yorkshire Post the former Queens Park Rangers man has been forced to pull out due to what they are describing as a “minor knee injury”.
The report suggests that Luongo has been carrying the knock for a while now, and after discussions with the Socceroos medical staff he decided to stay in Sheffield in order to recover.
Speaking about the withdrawal, Australia head coach Graham Arnold said: “Massimo pulled up sore after coming off in last night’s game [Wednesday’s 1-0 win against Wigan] and due to the short turnaround between now and Thursday’s match, combined with the long-haul flight from Europe, we have decided not to take any risks with him.”
Manager Garry Monk will hope that this is just a precaution, and that it is not a serious problem.
Luongo has only recently broken into the first team at Hillsborough, having joined from Queens Park Rangers in the summer.
Indeed, he was only given his first league start in their fixture against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, which was because regular choice Sam Hutchinson was suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season.
But the Aussie grasped his opportunity with both hands, and managed to net the winning goal in Wednesday’s 1-0 triumph over the Latics.
It was not just his goal that made his performance so impressive either. He also managed to play one key pass whilst also showing his defensive qualities, winning three aerial duels and two ground duels (via SofaScore).
Monk will be hoping that Luongo can use the time he will now have over the international break to get himself back to full fitness. His recent performance certainly gave him some food for thought and the former Leeds United boss will hope that he has a selection headache between him and Hutchinson when they play Cardiff City.
Sheffield Wednesday fans, how impressed were you with Massimo Luongo’s performance against Wigan? And would you start him ahead of Sam Hutchinson when both are available? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!