Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk has paid tribute to the all-round performance of midfielder Massimo Luongo, following his match-winning contribution against Stoke City on Tuesday night.
For the second time in three matches, Luongo would score the only goal of the game to secure a 1-0 win for The Owls, although the Australian was later substituted after taking a knock to the ankle.
That is something Monk felt impacted on his side’s performance in the second half, and speaking about Luongo’s performance after the match, the Wednesday boss was quoted by The Star as saying: “I thought he was fantastic. When he came off, we maybe did miss his little bit of ball carrying.
“He can carry the ball and get you up the pitch and I thought we missed that (after he went off).
“I thought he was the best player on the pitch in the first half.”
Luongo had been forced to wait his turn for a chance in the Wednesday side following his move from Championship rivals QPR in the summer transfer window, with the midfielder not starting any of his new side’s first ten league games.
Having now made the impact he has however, it seems Luongo is establishing himself in the starting XI under Monk, who added: “I am delighted for him. He has picked up a knock but it doesn’t seem to be too serious so we will assess him on Wednesday.”
Following the win over Stoke, Wednesday are now third in the Championship standings, ahead of the visit of Leeds United to Hillsborough on Saturday afternoon.
Assuming he is fit, it looks as though it is getting harder and harder for Monk not to select Luongo for Wednesday.
With two match-winners in three games from midfield, it already appears as though Luongo could be a key player for Wednesday as they look to maintain their place in promotion contention this season.
Indeed, with Monk heaping praise on his all-round performance here, it is clear that it is more than just his finishing ability that is going to help them to do that this season.
That he has been able to do that so quickly after finally ending the long wait for his chance in the starting XI, you have to feel Luongo deserves a decent amount of credit for taking his opportunity when it came to him.