Kewell hits back at crock tag


Harry Kewell will be out to prove that he has been unfairly tagged as a ‘crock’ as he embarks on his career in the Hyundai A-League as a Melbourne Victory player.

Harry Kewell will be out to prove that he has been unfairly tagged as a ‘crock’ as he embarks on his career in the Hyundai A-League as a Melbourne Victory player.

‘Harry-fest’ rolled on in Melbourne on Wednesday with another media throng turning up to watch the Hyundai A-League’s highest-profile signing participate in his first training session with his new team-mates.

But while Kewell was rapt to be out there on the training track with fellow footballers for the first time since May, when he fronted the media, he felt the need to set the record straight over the perception he is injury-prone and that that represents a risk to Victory’s considerable investment in him.

“A lot of people brand me as this player that has been injured. Ok, I had three seasons at Liverpool where I was injured and not many people realise that I played 42 games and that’s more than a lot of players all over the world,” he said.

“Even before that I played 35 games. I’ve been putting my fair share of games into seasons, it’s just that when I do miss a game, it kind of becomes public knowledge and everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon.”

Kewell said he accepts that as a high-profile player that scrutiny of his fitness comes with the territory, but has every faith in his fitness.

“I’ve been working personally for eight weeks and have been in contact with Victory for three weeks and working with their programs. I’m feeling good and good enough to go out there and play football and start participating in games,” he said.

The former Leeds, Liverpool and Galatasaray attacker’s confidence in his body is strengthened by the quality of the fitness, strength and conditioning facilities and talent the Victory have at their disposal.

“The bonus thing about coming to Australia is that the medical system here is perfect. That was one of the main reasons for coming here. I’ve seen the set-up here and it’s probably the best I’ve seen all over the world,” he said.

Kewell bristled at suggestions he wouldn’t be fit enough to play in the Socceroos’ matches in October, saying he would make every attempt to show national coach Holger Osieck he was ready if needed for the World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney, just three days after his proposed debut in the A-League.

He said he was also wary of not pushing himself too hard in a bid to reach his physical peak as quickly as possible.

“I’m always mindful of that, it’s probably my biggest downfall, I always like to push myself and keep going and try to get the best out of myself,” he said.

Kewell is expected to play his first trial match against Adelaide United on Friday September 23 at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Assistant coach Kevin Muscat believes Kewell’s current physical condition is excellent and he should make good progress over the next few weeks.

“I had no doubt he would turn up here in immaculate condition and he’s not disappointed me. As you can see this morning, 48 hours after a flight he was running around trouble-free. We’re very excited about the season coming up,” he said.