We were just wild about Harry

Harry Kewell is hanging up the boots on Saturday, April 12, when the Melbourne Heart play Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park.

At 35, Kewell, ends a glittering career that includes successful stints playing with Liverpool and Leeds in the English Premier League, Galatasaray in Turkey, and Qatari club Al-Garafa.

In Australia Kewell has had A-League stints with Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart.

Kewell also played 56 times for Australia and at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

He grew up in Smithfield, playing in the Southern Districts Soccer Football Association with Smithfield Hotspurs and Marconi Stallions.

Kewell went to Westfields Sports High School.

Kewell’s talent was obvious and he will always rate highly among the elite of all Australian players.

Comparing players from any sport in different eras is unfair.

Craig Johnston was the pioneer for Australians to head overseas and chase their dreams playing at the top level.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Johnston starred for English clubs, Middlesbrough and Liverpool.

Kewell was the modern day Johnston with fans watching his career unfold.

They were wild about Harry.

Kewell’s story is a fine example to young players growing in the south western and western Sydney suburbs that anything is possible if you have the talent and put in the hard work.

Nagging injuries and advancing age caught up with him. It happens to all sportsmen and Kewell is big enough to say it’s fulltime. He decided to leave on his own terms.

There was speculation Kewell wanted to make a a third World Cup in Brazil which starts on June 12. To his credit, Kewell didn’t kid himself.

His retirement gave Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou an easier path than tell Kewell he wouldn’t make the squad.

It’s the mark of the man that Kewell didn’t try and drag out his playing days.

Kewell’s focus is now on his junior academy wanting to help cultivate the abundance of talent in this country.

He was once a fresh-faced youngster with a dream to make it on the big stage and he now wants to provide a similar pathway for today’s youth.