Sheffield Wednesday contract mystery man gets major World Cup hint after Celtic midfielder’s drop out

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One of Sheffield Wednesday’s most influential players has been overlooked by his international side heading into one of the most important matches in their history.

Massimo Luongo, who put long-held injury struggles behind him to produce his best season in blue and white last time out, has previously spoken about his desire to get back into contention with Australia and add to his 43 caps.

The last of those arrived in January 2019 – while he was still a QPR player.

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Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo enjoyed a fine season.Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo enjoyed a fine season.
Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Massimo Luongo enjoyed a fine season.

After a friendly with Jordan on Wednesday evening, the Australian side – known as the Socceroos – take on the UAE next week in a match they must win to stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Despite stellar League One form this season, Luongo was omitted from a bumper 29-man squad for the back-to-back matches.

And even after Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic pulled out of the squad this week citing personal reasons, Socceroos manager Graham Arnold deciding against bringing former Ballon D’or long list nominee Luongo into the reckoning.

“My focus must now be on the players we have here in Qatar,” the Aussie head coach said. “We have selected an extended squad of quality players, and I believe we will achieve something special for Australia over the next two weeks.”

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The latest development suggests Luongo faces a race against time if Australia are able to book a spot at the World Cup.

The midfielder played 30 times for Wednesday last season and has been offered a new contract to extend his stay at Hillsborough beyond the summer. The club await a decision.

Speaking to The Star early in the season, the 29-year-old was realistic about his chances of breaking into the squad after such a long time away but made no secret of his hope of breaking in.

He said in November: “I’m not expecting anything but I’d love to be a part of it all, especially in a World Cup year, but I’m really not expecting anything.

“I just want to play football and get back to doing what I love doing. The rest is a bonus.”