Almost a decade ago, the world witnessed one of the rising stars in the English game move to Liverpool. His name was Harry Kewell. Fast forward 10 years later, the once sought after and most gifted Australian footballer of his generation recently signed with A-league minnows Melbourne Heart on a reported AU$48,000 a season deal.
‘H,’ as he’s fondly known Down Under, left Australia some 12 months ago for “family reasons”, having left his now city rival Melbourne Victory. He was in search of soccer closer to England so his partner could care for her mother who was suffering from an illness.
After months of dead ends and brinkmanship, he moved to Middle Eastern club Al Gharafa. The country celebrated his resurgence after a goal in the Qatar Stars League. According to international teammate Marco Bresciano, “He seems like the Harry of old.”
A debate ensued. Should Harry be called up to the Australian national team by coach Holger Osieck? Sentimentality was ripe. But should a player who has played less than a handful of games in 12 months be in contention for the Socceroos? Some would tell you, “It’s Harry, our golden boy”. And with that memories of Kewell’s goal against Croatia in Berlin start to cloud the mind. Simon Hill’s famous piece of commentary, “Australia’s golden boy has come up with a golden goal”.
Jumping back to reality, it’s not 2006 anymore. Kewell’s no longer the fleet-footed pacey attacker he once was, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to Melbourne Heart’s cause going forward. He’ll be on minimum wage and on a one year deal. The positives for this move outweigh the negatives. Although Kewell’s last venture back home didn’t go as planned, the time is now for redemption.
With the pre-season for the next A-league season already underway, there will be no excuses for lack of fitness or conditioning. Kewell will join up with the rest of the squad on July 1. There’s also anticipation for the match that’ll kick off the Hyundai A-league season: the Melbourne Derby. He’ll be going up against his former club Melbourne Victory.
As we await the opening day, talk about Socceroo call ups will continue. Australia look to fight for their place to win a place in Rio, but the question on all Australians lips is: Should Harry be a part of the journey or not?