Luongo cements his place as a Socceroos star

Massimo Luongo has been a stand out for the Socceroos at the Asian Cup so far. (Getty)

Australia midfielder Massimo Luongo is fast emerging as the joker in Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos pack after giving a second eye-catching performance in four days.

The Swindon Town man gave another polished display during the Socceroos' 4-0 demolition of Oman that gave the side an early ticket to the quarter-finals.

He was involved in Australia's three goals in the first half and generally caught the eye with his passing, swagger and cheeky arrogance that belie his tender age of 22.

He clearly is a star in the making and credit should go to Postecoglou for recognising this when it would have been easier for him to place his faith in the experienced and hugely popular Mark Bresciano.

His most telling moment came after 30 minutes when he received a ball from Robbie Kruse and promptly chipped a return pass of such precision that the striker took an easy touch and then steered the ball into the net to put Australia two up.

All this in only Luongo's second start for Australia.

Luongo clearly is relishing the opportunity of playing at a higher level than he is accustomed to in the third tier of English football, although the way he has taken to international football he's unlikely to be playing there for too much longer.

"The way we play is so positive that when we get one goal we always feel there are more to come, no matter what the score is," Luongo said after his 50-minute display before he made way for Bresciano.

"I really wanted to play as much as I can because I was enjoying it out there.

"It was a lovely game for me, on home soil, but obviously the manager has different plans.

"But I contributed quite a bit anyway and the boys who came on did well as well."

For a player so young and inexperienced, Luongo has impressed with his positive attitude on the pitch.

He is unafraid to get stuck into the action and take responsibility by making the kind of moves and play the sort of passes one usually expects from seasoned campaigners.

"Naturally, I always try to make something happen," he said.

"I worry about my position on the field and how I can affect the strikers.

"I don't just want to get the ball from the centre-backs and play the easy pass just to get myself into the game.

"I'd rather play more of a risky area and be more effective if things come off.

"I've already got a good relationship with Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie and Ivan Franjic on the right: they help me a lot."

Luongo's red-hot form that is rewarding Postecoglou's trust in him is keeping experienced Bresciano out of the starting 11.

The Socceroos stalwart reiterated his admiration for Luongo after the game, even comparing him to the great Josip Skoko.

"He's a kid that I've always spoken highly of," Bresciano said.

"I've seen his ability to pass and now he's come out and shown it on the field.

"That has not come as a surprise to me. Hopefully he can keep going.

"He's got a bit of Skoko, I think.

"He's very comfortable on the ball ... his body positioning and his passing. If I had to compare him with someone from the Socceroos from the past it would have to be Skoko."

Luongo is expected to retain his place in the side for the third group game against Korea Republic in Brisbane in Saturday that will determine which team wins the section.

The Socceroos and Taeguk Warriors have six points each but since Australia has a much better goal difference, a draw would be enough to secure top spot and a quarter-final in Melbourne on Thursday 22 January against the runner-up of Group B featuring Uzbekistan, China, Saudi Arabia and Korea DPR.

Should the Socceroos lose to Korea Republic they will play their quarter-final against the winner of Group B in Brisbane.

Source SBS