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Luongo: I can provide Socceroos spark

January 20, 2015 12:46:52 UK

He’s impressed so far in the tournament, but Australia’s Massimo Luongo has put himself under pressure to do better in the knockout phase of the Asian Cup.

Luongo started on the right side of midfield in all the Socceroos three Group A games, playing the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to South Korea at the weekend.

The 22-year-old knows competition for midfield places is red-hot with veteran Mark Bresciano and Tommy Oar looking to get game time in Thursday’s quarter-final against China.

A newcomer to the international scene, having won only eight Socceroos caps, Luongo says he wants to have a greater impact.

“I need to take more responsibility and maybe do a bigger and better job than I have been,” he said. “Maybe not waiting for the ball to come to me or waiting for something to happen.

“Try and do things on my own, make something happen when the game’s not going our way or we’re under the cosh. Something in my game that sparks the whole team up a bit.”

Luongo added: “I feel everything you’ve seen has been in bits and bobs; it’s been effective but maybe I can offer a bit more over the whole game. I was surprised to be in the first 11 of the first game, but now if I wasn’t to play the next game I’d be really disappointed.”

Australia are 3.75 to win the Asian Cup.

Coach Ange Postecoglou has already said it would be asking a lot for players to play in all the games at the tournament, and Luongo’s place in the side will come under pressure against China in Brisbane.

Captain Mile Jedinak is almost certain to return in midfield following injury, with Postecoglou set to make at least four changes to the side that played against the Koreans.

The original front three of Tim Cahill, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse are expected to be brought back, while the suspended Matthew Spiranovic will be replaced in defence by Alex Wilkinson.

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