Also on Fox Sports last night the producers very generously gave Harry Kewell the right to reply to an article that upset the former Socceroos superstar, written by former team mate Robbie Slater in the Sunday Telegraph.
In that article Slater stated “Harry Kewell has been put on a pedestal for years. Now it’s time for him to call it quits with the Socceroos.” He went on to say “For far too long Football Federation Australia has universally backed Harry because of his profile.” Two points with which we concur.
Slater also said that at 32 and with a long history of injuries, which at the recent world cup destabilised the team it was time to start looking for another striker. We have stated on air and on this blog that the FFA have stuck by Harry for marketing purposes for far too long, and again agree with Slater, as this is about what is best for the game as a whole and no player is ever bigger than the game. The one thing that Slater’s column does allude to is was Pim Verbeek pressured by the FFA to include Kewell in his squad? Having spoken with Verbeek prior to the team leaving Australia this would appear unlikely as he seemed a man who would not be swayed on anything once his mind was made up.
Slater also claimed in the article that there was an altercation between Kewell and another player at the Socceroos farewell dinner. A claim that Kewell vehemently denied on Fox Sports last night.
Kewell was understandably upset by this accusation, but to appear on national television while still obviously upset was not a good move and his handling of the situation was incredibly immature, and reminded one of a school yard squabble. For so long Mr. Kewell has been a protected species only doing interviews with the likes of Ray Martin and Rove, who know absolutely nothing about football. In these interviews he has been able to breeze through with his “Mr Clean” image intact. Last night the veil slipped and he will have no doubt damaged his own reputation far more than he has Slater’s.
Whether Kewell continues his international career will be up to new coach Holger Osciek, as he admitted. Whether there is a personal issue between the two, it was foolish to air it on television, if he was upset by the accusation that he fell out with a player and this again hurt his ‘clean’ image, his television tirade will not have convinced any doubters. Sadly this appears to be one time when Harry has not come up smelling of roses.