Luongo fresh for Caltex Socceroos 'mini-preseason'
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo has compared their pre-FIFA World Cup training camp in Turkey to a ‘mini-preseason’ as the intensity continues to rise.
With the first friendly prior to the tournament not until Friday 1 June against the Czech Republic and three players still on their way to Antalya, the focus is on getting the little things right.
Talk of tactics ahead of some FIFA World Cup blockbusters will come soon, but the Aussies in camp aren’t resting on their laurels.
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“Training has been really tough, nothing specific yet, I think it’s just about getting used to the schedule and the tempo and a few boys are coming in late but yeah it’s been quite intense, everyone’s quite on it and the quality’s really good, and I’m enjoying it which is the main thing as well,” said Luongo.
“Yesterday was really tough, I think a few boys are feeling it now but it’s like a mini pre-season and I think everyone here was expecting that.
"We’ve got no game for 10 days or so so we can afford to push our bodies a little more than we’re used to.”
The Queens Park Rangers midfielder was instrumental in the London side’s Championship season, playing 36 matches in a jam-packed calendar and he was afforded some time off at the back end of the year to rest up ahead of the Turkey training camp.
“It was a really generous thing that he [then-QPR manager Ian Holloway] did for me," Luongo explained.
"Me and Holly had a really good relationship and we were able to talk to each other and I was comfortable enough to explain how I feel going into Christmas time.
“It is due to international games and they’ve looked after me and it was a big decision from them but I’m really grateful, hopefully it does pay off and I think it will.
“That two-week break is massive, I didn’t want to come in here not fresh off a two-week break, you’ve seen the training out here and how tough it is so I felt I would have been behind.”
This Caltex Socceroos squad is bursting with quality in the centre of midfield which means the competition for places is set to be tougher than ever.
Luongo played down the battle for spots but identified the two upcoming friendlies against Czech Republic and Hungary as key to nailing down a starting berth.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can do individually, anything more, at the moment it’s all about us as a team and getting things right on the training pitch,” said Luongo.
“We haven’t started the tactical side of it yet, I think that will all come down to game day and we’ve got the two friendly games to test it out.
“I’m thinking less about me individually and more just trying to get the manager wants and hopefully the other boys are thinking the same thing because I think that’s the most important thing.”