After failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, it seemed Harry Kewell would suffer the fate of so many great Aussie soccer players. The World Cup looked the impossible dream after Uruguay gave the Socceroos another taste of, ‘so close yet so far’. However, Australia went on to reach the 2006 World Cup and 2010 World Cup with Harry Kewell playing a role on both occasions. Harry’s late goal against Croatia sent Australia through to the knockout stage in Germany but his experience in South Africa was nightmarish. Brought down in the box against Ghana and ignored, he was later red carded for handball. Good and bad, Harry has seen it all, and the wealth of knowledge at his disposal can only benefit the youth around him.
Harry’s chances of travelling to Brazil looked slim just over a month ago, when he had yet to complete 90 minutes for Melbourne Heart. But gradually Kewell has built up match fitness, and it’s no coincidence that Melbourne Heart’s on-field fortunes have taken a turn for the better since the return of Harry. Coinciding with Kewell’s lift in form and game time was the devastating news of Robbie Kruse’s ACL injury. The 25 year old attacker will need to perform a miracle to be ready by May 13th, when the preliminary 30 man squad is announced. The standard recovery time for ACL injuries is a minimum of six months before the individual can return to high impact activity that soccer involves, and Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou is a staunch advocate of players with game time under their belt. This fact virtually rules Kruse out.
So it all comes down to Postecoglou. Is there some lingering discontent between Kewell and Postecoglou after Harry’s departure from Melbourne Victory in 2012? Will the manager dig in stubbornly against the tide of momentum being built by Kewell’s form, and advocates such as Slater and Harper? The two were heard in pre and post match discussions on Friday night (31st January), building the case for Harry, and with Australia’s slated friendly with Ecuador set for March 5th, we will soon know if there are any skeletons in the closet.