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Kewell close to comeback

Kewell close to comeback - EXCLUSIVE - David Lewis
Thursday, October 25 is a date Harry Kewell has marked down in his diary in bold black ink. In a career strewn with a litany of false dawns, the brittle-bodied Socceroos star is preying that Liverpool reserves' clash with Newcastle's second string that night will be the genesis of a genuine resurrection. Commentators and cynics have reserved a permanent pew for the 29 year old in football's emporium of crocks. And now even some inside Anfield have apparently given up on the damage-prone Kewell. Fortunately for Kewell, Rafa Benitez - the only man that matters in matters Harry - is refusing to sing along to the chorus of doom. Despite Kewell being out of big-match action since appearing as a second-half substitute for Australia against Japan in the Asian Cup 10 weeks ago, Benitez is keeping the faith. The Spaniard, desperate to get Kewell fit and firing again, has ordered he not be rushed back following the latest in a long line of setbacks: a pernicious thigh problem that has sidelined him so far this season. Surgeons have grown rich on Kewell's malfunctioning moving parts, with previous operations on his Achilles, groin (twice), ankle and toe making him a leading contributer to their Super funds. But Benitez is convinced he can still play a leading role in helping Liverpool land their first league title in 17 years. A Liverpool insider explained: "Rafa hasn't lost faith in Harry, in fact quite the opposite." "He wants him to take his time and he is impressed by Harry's determination. He thinks he's one of the most dedicated professionals he's ever met in terms of his drive to get back to the top and overcome all the hurdles placed in front of him." "There are people inside and outside the club who have written him off - but Benitez is having none of it." "He'll give Harry all the time he needs to get himself right." Those who doubt Benitez's devotion to his problematic left-sided playmaker need only consult the team sheets of the four finals Liverpool have appeared in since his arrival. Kewell's name is inscribed in all, one Carling Cup, one FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League deciders. He's scored just 16 times in 129 appearances for the Reds since his arrival in mid-2003 and has spent almost as much time on the treatment table as he has with his wife and two kids. He is out of contract at the end of this season and in his own words is 'fighting for a new deal'. Though fate has been a feckless companion, it appears rumours of Kewell's imminent demise may be somewhat premature. In fact, Benitez could bypass the reserves route back to the big time and recall Kewell, whose training program has been stop-start over the past month, to the bench for the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on October 20, or even the Champions League trip to Besiktas four days later. The umpteenth coming of Kewell may already be nigh.


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