Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi has revealed the extent of Harry Kewell’s distress from his latest injury.
Aloisi prepares to face high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night without Kewell, who was set to return from a three-match A-League absence before twisting his ankle at training on Wednesday, setting him back two or three weeks.
Aloisi said Kewell’s pain was matched only by Vince Grella, forced into retirement last year.
“I haven’t seen a player that upset by an injury in a long, long time,” he said.
“Harry was distraught because he wants to be out there, he wants to help the players. He wants to help the club that’s given him another opportunity.”
Aloisi denied the club had taken a risk on another Socceroos veteran after last year’s signing of Grella who retired after one match for Heart.
“If there were muscle problems or groin injuries or something that comes with old age, then I will question what we have done but Harry’s been fine right through pre-season,” he said.
“A rolled ankle you can never prevent … it can happen to an 18-year-old, it can happen to a 35-year-old.”
“If I can’t play in the World Cup, well no problem for me. Because I wanted to play for Heart anyway, that’s the main thing for me,” he told Melbourne’s SEN radio.
Kewell called speculation he would leave Heart if his World Cup ambitions became a lost cause “ridiculous”, while Aloisi backed him to bounce back strongly.
“Once he’s back on the pitch you’ll see Harry performing because he’s worked so hard for it,” Aloisi said.
Aloisi also defended Kewell for playing golf last week despite having been ruled out of the Heart’s match against Brisbane.
The coach said Kewell wouldn’t have been on the golf course unless it had been cleared by him, which it was.
Aloisi said the star player needed a way to unwind, given the scrutiny he faced.
“That’s part of being Harry Kewell. He needs an outlet and that outlet is playing golf,” Aloisi said.