Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van’t Schip believes retiring captain Harry Kewell has been an inspiration to the younger players and will leave a legacy at the Club.
Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van-t Schip believes retiring captain Harry Kewell has been an inspiration to the younger players and will leave a legacy at the Club.
Kewell, 35, announced two weeks ago that he will end his professional football career at the conclusion of the Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season.
And ahead of the skipper-s last ever professional match tomorrow, van-t Schip commended Kewell on his impact both on and off the pitch.
“It-s been a success because he-s left a legacy for the younger players and showed them how you have to live as a professional,” van-t Schip said.
“Like how you have to take care of preparing for a game or for training and his input with his stories and talking to the younger players about all aspects that come with football.”
Kewell missed Melbourne Heart-s last two matches through injury but worked himself back in to fitness for his finale as a professional footballer.
“He-s been training the last few days very well,” van-t Schip said.
“He missed not only last week but struggled a little bit with his fitness and getting in to a rhythm of playing every time 90 minutes.”
Despite the hype around Kewell-s farewell, van-t Schip recognises tomorrow afternoon-s match against Western Sydney Wanderers will be a tough game with Heart looking to secure a possible eighth-placed finish.
“It-s going to be a hard game and a tough game because Western Sydney and three other teams up there are playing for the second spot,” van-t Schip said.
“We have a lot to play for. For the fans it-s our last home game, not to finish last and we still have the opportunity to finish in eighth place.
“But it-s also a game for the future. A lot of the players who will be playing tomorrow will be involved in the squad next season and we have to improve a lot.
“So it-s also going to be a game about that… improving, getting better and preparing to really give Western Sydney a good game.”
Kewell was quoted earlier in the week on Fox Sports as saying his ideal scenario would ending his career with a hat-trick in his final game – a feat he hasn-t achieved despite his illustrious career.
Van-t Schip agreed that would be
“I can maybe have a chat to [Wanderers- Head Coach Tony] Popovic and ask him to help Harry out a little bit,” van-t Schip said.
“Sometimes you have those farewell games and it-s all about that one player and they let him score – but tomorrow that-s not the case. Harry knows that and I think he likes that and we-re all looking forward to it.”