Sheffield Wednesday: Massimo Luongo 'determined' to prove himself in Rotherham United tie
Massimo Luongo has outlined his determination to nip ahead of his rivals for a spot in the Sheffield Wednesday midfield, starting with a performance at Rotherham United on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, signed from QPR on transfer deadline day earlier this month, said the Carabao Cup tie is a rare chance for the squad’s nearly men to prove themselves, having had his contribution to the season limited to substitute cameos thus far.
Early days though they are, the Australian international appears to be behind Sam Hutchinson, Kieran Lee, Barry Bannan and Adam Reach in the pecking order for a midfield three starting berth, and was bullish in outlining his determination to further his case at the New York Stadium.
Luongo is one of several changes to the side caretaker boss Lee Bullen is expected to make.
“I was completely expecting what’s happened when I signed, especially on deadline day,” he said.
“This is a great chance. The Bury game would have been a nice one to get involved in a bit earlier so that everyone could see what I’m about.
“But this is a good chance for me to get 90 minutes hopefully, to impress and to give the manager a bit of a headache for the game on Saturday.”
Wednesday sit a place outside the play-offs having registered three wins in their five league matches, and with those ahead of him having produced some good performances, Luongo is under no illusion that chances for him to prove himself won’t be gifted too often.
It’s a battle for pitch time he intends to tackle head-on.
“It’s a big challenge and I haven’t had that for a long time. The depth is incredible and I think initially it’s a bit frustrating, but there are 46 games in the league season, you’re going to be used.
“It’s up to myself, when I do get used, to make sure I’m prepared and ready and I give it my all and hopefully continue and keep my spot.
“There won’t be many opportunities. We’ve got such a big squad and there are only so many positions on the bench. These games are so important.”
Where other Championship sides may see the League Cup as a chore, Luongo says it is key for a club with a squad of Wednesday’s size to breed competition for places and ensure players are ready to step up when required.
For him and the other nearly mean of the season, the time is now, he said.
“In other cases when a team doesn’t have that depth and you play midweek in between tough games at the weekend it’s tough. For us it’s a game that, if we win, we get another game.
“The way I’m treating it is a chance for me to play 90 minutes, to win the game, and then I get almost guaranteed another 90 minutes in the next couple of weeks. That’s the way I’m taking it – I want to win every game.”