Massimo Luongo says Ange Postecoglou’s decision to quit as Socceroos coach was a big blow and admits he has no idea what to expect from new boss Bert van Marwijk.
The QPR midfielder formed a close bond with Postecoglou after he plucked him from League One obscurity at Swindon Town and made him an international regular.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed an excellent season at the London side where he has filled in as captain in the English Championship this year and would have been a certain selection for Russia under Postecoglou.
However, he admits he and his fellow Socceroos have it all to prove to van Marwijk, who’ll spend this month watching the European-based players ahead of March’s friendlies with Norway and Colombia.
“It was pretty disappointing to see Ange leave, especially going into a World Cup,” Luongo told AAP.
“I owe him a lot because he did a lot for me and got me into the set-up.
“You are never certain of a spot in the World Cup. But you knew, if you had his belief and confidence, he was going to call you up.
“Now there is a voice in the back of your head which says, ‘you don’t know what this new guy is going to think.’
“That is a reason why a lot of the boys have moved around Asia and Europe, to try and get games.”
Luongo hasn’t had any contact with the new coaching staff and was forced out of QPR’s last two matches due to a knee injury and illness but will return this Saturday against Bolton.
“Being injured for two games hasn’t really helped me but there are two games in March to look forward to,” he said.
“I am not worrying about proving myself. I just need to keep doing what I am doing.
“I am just focusing on QPR. It’s in the back of my mind (the World Cup squad) … but I have to just push that to one side and do my job here.”
The appointment last month of van Marwijk, who guided his home nation to the 2010 World Cup final and Saudi Arabia to Russia, was a surprise to many, including most of the players.
“I always thought it was going to be someone Aussie,” Luongo said.
“We had a lot of coaches come in to sort of oversee what we did, but they were all quite similar to Ange, to be honest.
“There were no hints. People were saying things behind closed doors but no one really knew.
“I didn’t think it would be a foreign coach. I thought it could have been Graham Arnold given how well he has done with Sydney FC.
“I’ve played against his Saudi Arabia team twice and came on in both games so he knows who I am.
“Previous managers have shown they like players who play overseas and the championship has come a long way since when Ange took over.
“Just look at the big clubs and players that now play in it. Hopefully that will work in my favour.”