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Harry Kewell: I scrapped holiday to play for Liverpool

Harry Kewell: I scrapped holiday to play for Liverpool

Jul 27 2007

by Ian Doyle in Hong Kong, Liverpool Daily Post

Harry Kewell in action

HARRY KEWELL scrapped plans for a holiday in favour of a summer of hard slog as he attempts to salvage his Liverpool career.

The 28-year-old is desperate to repay the continued faith shown by manager Rafael Benitez after an injury-ravaged 12 months.

After Australia’s defeat to Japan at the weekend, Kewell swapped the Asian Cup for the Asia Trophy by flying from Vietnam straight to Liverpool’s pre-season tour in Hong Kong.

The winger then played 55 minutes of the 3-1 win over South China in Tuesday’s semi-final.

Kewell, who is hopeful of another outing in today’s final against Portsmouth, has less than 12 months remaining on his contract and has yet to be offered a new deal.

And the Australian acknowledges the clutch of new arrivals at Anfield means he cannot afford to waste any opportunity to impress.

“I was always going to meet up with the team as soon as we got knocked out – that was the agreement that we had with the manager and Australia,” said Kewell.

“I had to get back because we’ve got some greater players here, some new signings and you’ve got to fight for your position early on in the season.

“I'm desperate to do that. It would have been a bit of shifty move to go all the way back to England and then not met up with the team.

“I’ve got one year left (on my contract) and I just want to play for Liverpool and hopefully help the team push for the title.

“I suppose I could have had a holiday but I play for Liverpool Football Club and it’s a big thing being at this club this season and you have to work hard and be pushing for your position all the time so it was really important for me to get back.”

A series of injury concerns sparked by a toe problem at last summer’s World Cup meant Kewell played only 77 minutes for Liverpool during the campaign, with 33 of those coming as a second-half substitute in the Champions League final against AC Milan.

However, Kewell appeared in all four of Australia’s games in the Asian Cup this month and added: “I’m relieved to be back because obviously last year I was away most of the time getting treatment for injuries. It’s just great to be playing again.

“I did have moments of despair last season but I have a strong family behind me, a good medical staff, a fantastic manager and a great club so at times when you are down and out you just look to that support and thankfully I’ve always had it.”

Kewell reveals the support shown by Benitez in particular provided an important psychological boost in his fight to regain full fitness.

“It’s very important to have a manager who believes in you,” said Kewell, who was lively in last night’s training session at the Mongkok Stadium. “A lot of people doubted him but he stood by me which shows he has great faith in me and I just want to repay him for that.”

Benitez believes the availability of a fit-again Kewell will be like “another new signing”, saying: “When you look around the market place, it is clear that there are not many wingers with Harry's quality and that is why it is so important for us to have him back.”


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