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Kewell, Harry

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HARRY KEWELL 2003-08

 

by Julian Richards and Dave Usher

 

 

Date of Birth - 22/09/78

Nationality - Australian

Position - Winger

Games - 139

Goals - 16

Club Hons (Lpool) - Champions League 2005, FA Cup 2006

Club Hons (Other) - None

Intnl Hons - Australian Caps

Other Clubs - Leeds, Galatasaray

 

Liverpool’s former number seven is possibly the most frustrating player to have ever worn the red shirt. Signed in a wave of publicity in July 2003, Kewell had a stunted Liverpool career and never came close to justifying the hype that surrounded his signing.

 

Born in Smithfield, Australia; Kewell joined Leeds United as a 15 year old. Starting his Leeds career in 1997, Kewell developed a reputation as a quick left winger and sometimes support striker. Kewell was integral to Leeds’ run to the Champions League semi-final in 2001. When Leeds developed financial difficulties after missing out on qualification for the competition they were forced to sell off most of their better players, as well as Rio Ferdinand. Kewell was eventually sold in the summer of 2003 but the transfer was to prove a frustrating affair.

 

A number of clubs were in the running for Harry’s signature and he’d given an interview to Australian TV announcing who he was to sign for. As the transfer was about to go through, the deal hit a last minute snag. After some wrangling the deal was finally announced and Harry was Liverpool player. The ‘snag’ appeared to be the way the transfer fee of £5million was to be distributed. Kewell’s ‘advisor/agent’ Bernie Mandic was to be paid £2million of the transfer sum despite not being a FIFA registered agent. This led to a court case between Kewell and Gary Lineker over Lineker’s apparent defamation of character.

 

Rick Parry made the comment that Kewell would be ‘an edge of your seat’ player and for the first few months of his career, he was. He scored against Everton in the derby, always guaranteed to help your standing, and gave balance to the team providing a threat down the left side of midfield.

 

At this point Kewell’s career began to be disrupted by injury. The frequency of which was only matched by the ‘You haven’t seen the best of me’ stories in newspapers.

 

With a change of management at Anfield, Rafa saw what qualities Kewell possessed. Seeing him as a natural fit as our left winger or even floating behind a lone striker. Kewell’s season was again disrupted but he managed to get himself fit for both cup finals that season, well fit enough to start them anyway. First he went off in the Carling Cup final for Antonio Nunez; who would go on to score, and then he famously limped off in the Champions League final; once again for an eventual goal scorer, Vladi Smicer. This gave Harry an unwanted reputation amongst some fans.

 

The following season was equally frustrating for Kewell as he battled for fitness and with a longer hairstyle. He put in some decent performance most notably against Chelsea in the FA cup semi-final when he ran Geremi ragged. Once again though, a final appearance for Harry Kewell wasn’t complete without him limping off injured. He managed to get himself fit for the World Cup in Germany and got himself a haircut.

 

It was after the World Cup that another injury hit Kewell and he didn't return to first team action for the reds until May when he appeared as a substitute at Fulham. Another substitute appearance followed on the final day, when he slotted home a last minute penalty at the Kop end to secure a draw with Charlton, and he did enough to earn a place on the bench for the CL final. Harry made a lively cameo in that game, but was unable to prevent Milan edging out the reds 2-1.

 

One thing was certain about Harry Kewell and that was his talent. A clever player who can score goals with his head and his feet there was nothing to hold him back apart from his fitness. Some question his work rate on the pitch and his attitude towards some aspects of his game. Kewell certainly never lived up to the hype that followed him to Anfield and, some would argue, never justified has significant salary.

 

He departed Anfield on a Bosman deal in the summer of 2008, taking the opportunity to join Galatasaray. Well they do great kebabs over there you know.

 

As the man himself might say: We never seen the best of Harry Kewell.

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