MARK Cooper was delighted by Massimo Luongo’s reaction to a midweek rest as the Australian put in a stand-out performance for Swindon Town at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Having played all bar 104 minutes of Town’s season prior to the home clash with Crawley Town last Tuesday, Luongo was given the chance to recuperate and he responded in style with a magnificent display at Gresty Road.
The former Tottenham midfielder – who is due to join up with his Aussie colleagues today ahead of their friendly against Ecuador in midweek – was back to his dynamic best. He carried the ball from deep, popped up all over the park and picked out his teammates with a series of incisive passes as Swindon drew 1-1 in Cheshire.
Given the number of minutes he has played term, Cooper felt the need was urgent to rest Luongo last week, and he believes his decision was vindicated, saying: “It’s a good job he’s not being paid by the minute or else we would be in trouble. It’s great, isn’t it? I’m sure what’s happened will have added to his value, I know that.
“I’m sure there are people looking on with envious eyes at some of the boys we’ve got playing for us at the moment.
“We keep forgetting a lot of them are in their first season of senior football and we’re asking an awful lot of them to play 40-odd games. Ideally we would like to rest them now and again and keep them fresh but with the injuries and suspensions we’ve had it’s not been possible.”
Cooper admitted his concern at seeing Luongo join Australia for the week, saying: “I’m not going to look forward to it at all, am I?
“I’m not going to look forward to him going because you don’t know what’s going to happen and if he’s going to come back in the state that he goes but it’s brilliant for him to go and play.”
The Swindon boss reserved special praise for Louis Thompson, too, who produced another workmanlike performance at Gresty Road.
“When you play with that much pride and passion and desire and no lack of ability then you are going to play regularly,” he said.