TOWN midfielder Massimo Luongo was as surprised as anyone when he had to cancel a holiday with his girlfriend after being told he was included in the Socceroos World Cup squad.
The 21-year-old was the suprise selection by Ange Postecoluo as the Australia boss overlooked the claims of the more experienced Tom Rogic and Luke Wilkshire to include the Town man in his final 23.
Luongo only made his debut for the Aussies as a second-half substitute against Ecuador back in March. However he made enough of an impression from the start in a friendly against Brazilian club side Clube Varana on Monday.
The £400,000 former Tottenham midfielder had been planning to go on holiday to Turkey with his girlfriend Shelley and her family but after being informed of his place in the squad yesterday morning had to cancel his plans.
Luongo said: “Obviously I can’t make it out there so I told them sorry.
“No one really knew what was going on, or what was happening, so we just turned up at breakfast and found out.
“To be honest I hadn’t had the best of sleeps. Part of it was because we played a game and I was exhausted from that and part of it was because I was a bit anxious.
“We just pulled up at breakfast and (Postecoglou) said who wasn’t in and the reasons. I dropped my mum a text then called my missus. I played it down a little but they’re buzzing for me.
“I feel good. I feel excited obviously, privileged, over the moon. There’s a lot of emotions going on.”
After the Clube Varana game Luongo had no idea his performance had pushed him into the reckoning.
“To be honest I didn’t think I was there at all, the game was just another run out for me to show what I could do. Training’s been difficult to show what I can do because it’s such a high intensity, everyone’s proving their spot and it’s not ideal (compared) to a match where you can shine a little bit and do your own thing,” said the Town man.
“I did pretty well (on Monday) and I wouldn’t say it pushed me into the final 23, just, you know, gave the coaches something to think about.”
Luongo may be a late selection but he wants to make a impression in Australia’s friendly with Croatia later this week.
“I’m quite desperate to get on, (Australia’s last friendly) I didn’t get on, and that was a bit disappointing but I’m here now and the only thing I can think of is getting on the park and doing my country proud, doing myself and my family proud.”
The last Town players to feature at a World Cup were Alan McLoughlin and Jan Åge Fjørtoft in 1994 and the Aussie midfielder acknowledged the significance of his call-up for his home club.
“My teammates at Swindon are all jumping on Twitter and congratulating me or messaging me.
“They’re all excited. Even my gaffer at Swindon said ‘well done mate, I’ll see you when you get back’. It’s big for the club.”
Town captain Darren Ward was one of the first to wish his teammate well, he tweeted: “brilliant news mate.....well done and be ready.”
Both of the Thompson brothers also sent their goodwishes, Louis posting: “Congratulation Mass, deserve it lad,” and Nathan adding: “didnt (sic) want to put my mouth on it until it was a definite, but a huge congrats mate. Great reward for a great season.”