In the lead up to the Perth Glory’s home fixture against Melbourne Victory, Western Australia’s most capped Socceroo, Stan Lazarides came out and stated, as many before him have and many in the future will, that the Victory’s Harry Kewell is Australia’s David Beckham.
Be honest does he really warrant comparison to Beckham on any level?
Harry Kewell has always had immense talent of that there can be no doubt. Was he the greatest player Australia has produced? That debate will rage on for years as how does one decide what makes a player great? Is it trophies won? Is it consistency? Is it the way you carry yourself off and on the pitch? Or is it marketability?
When he first went to the LA Galaxy David Beckham in that first season did not enamour himself to his teammates or the fans. He was no doubt frustrated that the players around him could not see situations as quickly and be in position to receive the ball, or pass it to him when he needed it. He did not practice as much as he had throughout his career and his focus shifted.
To be fair to Beckham, that changed in season two and his head was back where it had always been and in the end he performed as those who invested in taking him to America expected. He also won the Galaxy the MLS Cup.
Harry Kewell may well be going through that same first season blues that Beckham had in America, since returning to Australia. Against the Glory his frustration was clear as those around him failed to play to his ability levels.
What is sad however is that a player of his undoubted quality so clearly threw in the towel, and resorted to trying to con the referee, with two blatant dives. Kewell has always been a peripheral player drifting in an out of games, and at 3-0 down at half time against a rampant Glory was, unless he sparked early, never the man for a fight back where the Victory needed all eleven men to work hard for each other.
Beckham despite his first season in the MLS has always been a leader, he has always hated to lose and his personal pride in his own performances would have seen him continue to fight. Even playing when injured recently he has adjusted his game to still be able to offer his teammates options that can still bring success.
Beckham is a remarkable individual, he would not be in our list of truly great players, but the way he carries himself on the pitch and his attitude will always lift him well above Harry Kewell. We believe the two do not warrant comparison at any stage, as even Harry Kewell’s marketability although relative does not bear comparison to Beckham’s.
As stated Beckham’s first season was tough in the USA, let us hope that Kewell’s second in the A League matches Beckham’s subsequent seasons