BY TOM MOXEY
PLAYER PROFILE: HARRY KEWELL
D.O.B: 22 September 1978 (33)
Status: Player at Melbourne Victory
Clubs: Leeds United, Liverpool, Galatasaray, Melbourne Victory
National Team: Australia (56 games, 17 goals)
Leeds United: FA Youth Cup (1996-97), PFA Young Player of the Year (1999-00), PFA Team of the Year (1999-00)
Liverpool: UEFA Champions League (2004-05), FIFA Club World Championship (2005), FA Cup (2006)
Galatasaray: Turkish Super Cup (2008)
Australia: OFC Nations Cup (2004), Oceania Footballer of the Year (1999, 2001, 2003)
Harry Kewell is a player known worldwide, and especially in England. He was touted as one of the biggest talents in world football and at a very young age he had teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter and AC Milan chasing him. He is the only Australian player to date to attract so much interest from so many big clubs across Europe. At one stage Inter Milan made a bid of £25m for him, which Leeds United rejected.
Kewell is known for his pace and amazing finishing, and for that beautiful left foot of his, which helped Liverpool in their 2003-04 season. Unfortunately that was to be his only injury-free season, with Kewell making only 57 appearances in four seasons. Although always under an injury cloud, he continued to impress for his national team helping the Socceroos to their first World Cup since 1974, and also to the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 Asian Cup final. Every game in which he has scored for the national team has resulted in either a win or a draw.
Who knows how good Kewell could have been without his injuries at Liverpool? But he still made his mark, playing part in both the European Champions League final and also the FA Cup final wins. He eventually departed for Galatasaray in Turkey, alongside fellow Socceroos Lucas Neill. At Galatasaray Kewell played regular football without many injuries, something he had been begging for during his time at Liverpool. He scored 23 goals in 61 games in Turkey, and was a fan favourite amongst the Galatasaray supporters.
In 2011 when he was released from Galatasaray the rumours had already began to circulate. Was Kewell going to return to Australia and play in the A-League? All Australian football fans wanted him to return; it would have been an massive boost for football in this country to see a legend like Harry Kewell return to Australia. And it did indeed happen, with Kewell signing for Melbourne Victory, bringing a much-needed boost to both the A-League and to Melbourne Victory. He started off slowly in the A-League and was quoted as saying the A-League was one of the hardest and strongest leagues he had ever played in. He had not exprected it to be as ‘tough’ as the European leagues, and was shocked to find out how hard it actually was. Victory had a poor season, and the criticism was harsh. But in in the second half of the season Kewell came to life with some impressive performances and ended the season with 25 games and 8 goals.
Harry Kewell will always be known for his maturity, respect, calming character and ready smile, and for always doing what’s best for his family. He is a legend to Australian football. Even more than that, he has come back to support the always growing Australian A-League and is still featuring for the Socceroos.