Harry Kewell is back in Australia, joining Melbourne Heart on Wednesday for his first training session of the pre-season. The Heart's new no. 10 gave a press conference before working out with his new teammates at AAMI Park. Dutch defender Ron Wielaert also debuted in red, though he was very much the sideshow to Kewell's ever-present circus.
Unlike his return to Melbourne Victory in 2011, Kewell signed early with Heart and will enjoy the full pre-season experience. The timing of this move and his arrival in Melbourne in early July instead of late August is expected to allow Kewell to avoid the slow start that marked his first A-League return. "I think I've come at the right time, it gives me a great opportunity to work hard and give me a good solid three months pre-season before game one," Kewell said while seated next to manager John Aloisi.
Having played with Aloisi with the Socceroos since the late 1990s, Kewell is very familiar with his new boss, and vice versa. According to Aloisi:
"He's one of the players that always sets a good example. I've never seen anyone prepare better than Harry and that will rub off on a few of the younger players."
For his part, Kewell was equally complimentary of Aloisi, saying:
"When I first met with John a while back, the enthusiasm he showed to bring me here, that kind of nailed it straight away. As a player you like to hear the things he said, and what he's trying to achieve. I want to be part of that...My first priority is Melbourne Heart, that's what I'm here for."
With that, Kewell departed his press conference, walked past his former Victory teammates in the AAMI Park gym, and joined his new teammates for what will be the most talked about and scrutinized pre-season in A-League history. At least since his last arrival in Melbourne.