Massimo Luongo 'backed' at QPR, ready to step up for Socceroos
Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo has credited on-field fluidity and off-field honesty for his Queens Park Rangers' moments of magic.
The Socceroos stalwart has thrived in the English Championship this season as the driving force of a free-flowing midfield trio also featuring Luke Freeman and Josh Scowen.
Last month's vicious volley against Millwall had fans in raptures and manager Ian Holloway praising the 25-year-old as the best midfielder in the league.
And while injury-affected QPR sit 16th and without a win in their last five games, Luongo is relishing recent changes at Loftus Road.
"We've been a lot more aggressive," he said in Malacca, where Australia are preparing for the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off with Syria.
"Last year we defended on our box a lot and it was hard to get out. Before Holloway, we had [Jimmy Floyd] Hasselbaink who was very similar, very solid.
"That worked -- we were hard to beat. But I think it affected my personal game a little bit, I couldn't get in positions I wanted to.
"Whereas now we're winning the ball quite high up the pitch, and getting the ball in better areas. I can be a lot more aggressive and get into pockets."
The other element was Holloway's willingness to listen to Luongo's views about his role in the team, one keen to play on the front foot despite the traditional grittiness of England's second tier.
"He's backed me," Luongo said.
"We've had a few discussions on how he wants to play, and the players have made their input on the best way of approaching the season.
"Our new style has allowed us to dominate games and be in games for longer.
"A lot of work has been done off the park for us to find our identity and stuff like that," he said.
"That all helps with me personally on the pitch because I can have a little influence and do things more my way, as opposed to last year when everything was new and we had to listen to the manager and do everything by the book.
"This year there's more give and take between the staff and players."
Having started every league game this season except one through illness, Luongo is one of several Socceroos players in fine club form entering the nation's most important set of matches in recent memory.
Key men Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Mat Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Robbie Kruse (VfL Bochum) and Tomi Juric (FC Luzern) have all been impressive in the month since Australia failed to qualify directly for Russia 2018.