Australian footballer Harry Kewell has opened up about his surprise move to become Celtic’s first team manager in an interview with foxsport.com.au. Aussies’ hopes for Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Leeds and Liverpool star Kewell, who made nearly 60 appearances for the Australian national team and is regarded as one of the best players Australia has ever produced, was named the ‘hero’ player of FIFA 23 when FIFA 23 was announced. – The latest iteration of the mega-popular soccer video game.
Kewell follows in the footsteps of former Socceroos team-mate Tim Cahill, who was celebrated in FIFA 22’s Ultimate Team mode.
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Speaking to Foxsports.com.au, Kewell said he was honored by the news.
“I didn’t expect it, so it was a surprise. And when the guys talked about casting me as a hero, I jumped at the chance because it’s not often you get an opportunity like this – not only to represent the game you love, but to represent it at the level it’s at. The number of players playing this game is huge. And now I get to be a special person in it,” he exclaimed.
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Kewell admits he prefers to watch the game these days after losing so many scorelines to his son Taylor.
“I played it a long time ago, I’m not going to lie! And I wasn’t really bad – I usually had that kind of passing and movement, that Liverpool groove, I feel for the game. “Even though I’m a dribbler, I’ve never dribbled that much,” he said.
But no, I tend to see it these days, because there are so many buttons. The players, like me, were at a certain level when I was playing, but now they are missing what we are doing in the game. And I sat and watched – my son is very good at this. And I always play him, and he beats me six or seven nil. And now hopefully, I can play again and use my hero and then the tables will turn!”
Just don’t ask Harry to decide his own Ultimate Team – or the best XI he’s ever played with. “That’s going to piss off a lot of people,” he replied with a laugh.
The arrival of Kewell’s Celtic – and the anger behind the scenes
But back to real life, Kewell spent two months in Glasgow after receiving a surprise message from legendary Australian coach Ange Postecoglou at Celtic.
Kewell After retiring in 2014, he turned to coaching, making history by becoming the first Australian to coach a professional English men’s team. A successful spell at Crawley Town – but results were mixed in the dogfights in England’s lower ranks.
Then in June, Ange Postecoglou’s message came out of the blue.
“That was amazing,” Kewell said. “It was not what I expected. At the time, I was engaged in another job. And I thought the interview went really well, so I was looking forward to a call back from there. Let’s say this happened on Tuesday, I got a message from the manager (Anje) around Thursday or Friday. That message he sent me was enough to make me forget what I was doing and come and learn from one of the best. I thought the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“And since I’ve been there, it’s been great – I’ve learned a lot from it. And I hope to take all that information and build on that and become a better coach.
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So what makes Postcoglow so special?
“I think one of them is the attitude,” says Kewell. “You know, I’ve always liked working with people who are first and foremost good people. And he’s – he’s a really good guy.
“And then his work ethic, his relentlessness, what I love is that he always wants to be the best. He is never satisfied. He wants to push not only himself but his team to the next level. And I love being a part of that.
“Also being able to sit back – I know it sounds funny – but sit back and take it all in and learn. I’m used to talking a lot and running a lot of things, but to take a step back and be able to generate different ideas when someone else is training, in a meeting, and it’s you. Being able to throw your ideas out there. Whether you can resist it or not, that’s the key to being able to learn and push myself against the best.
Postecoglou has developed a reputation for keeping his distance from his players – not reckless, but adept at avoiding any bias in his selections.
He once told Open Goal: “Most people will tell you that if we get on a plane, they’ll switch boarding passes because nobody wants to sit next to me.”
“I could sit on a plane and do a long journey for eight hours and not say a word to them and it would entertain people, especially the players.
“I’ve done it many times and they hate it. It’s a death seat for them so I don’t think any of the players approach the gaffer. I would never sit down and drink coffee with them.”
But Kewell said the guardian is not as cold as it sometimes appears.
Asked about Postecoglou’s behind-the-scenes personality, Kewell laughed: “I don’t know how to answer that guy because he’s my boss! So I think he’s a good guy like I said at the beginning. You know, he and I have conversations about football and they’re long, and sometimes we just talk like two people talking. That’s usually outside the house, and I’m not saying we meet, but if we spend 10 minutes before lunch or after lunch, we just sit and chat.
“I mean, we had a great conversation about the last time we went to Vegas! You know that was 15 years ago for him and five years ago for me, but we went to see the same show (Cirque du Soleil). So we’re just talking about normal things. He’s a hot character. it is.
Kewell says he would love to return to head coaching in the future: “It’s an amazing job … you’re testing yourself and your ideas against all the best managers.”
At the moment, the full focus is on Celtic, and what he can offer the players and the team – if he has a lot of experience, it should be a lot.
Like the Champions League: Kewell started in the 2005 final injured in the first half of Liverpool’s win over Milan, and he featured in Liverpool’s defeat two years later.
Kewell said: “I’ve had the highest highs and the lowest lows of my Champions League experience. It will be remembered that Celtic won the league title last season and went directly to the group stage this season, and their opponents will be announced in two weeks.
Aaron Moo – and the hope of the World Cup of football
A month after Kewell signed on the dotted line in Glasgow’s green half, another big-name Aussie arrived: Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy.
“I played no part in that transfer,” says a happy Kewell. “But with Aaron, Celtic have bought a fantastic player, a top professional, he works very hard. And last week, week, you can see his episode coming up now. And players are seeing what Aaron Mooy is really all about.
“He’s in great shape. He looks strong, he looks powerful. His movement is good. His touch is great, he’s training well. So hopefully he can start to push the team to push them more.
Mooy has been used from the bench in Celtic’s first three league games of the season, starting for a handful of minutes in the first two minutes of last weekend’s 5-0 win at Kilmarnock and enjoying nearly half an hour on the park.
With the World Cup less than 100 days away, Kewell says Mooy is seen as a vital member of the Socceroos squad.
“He is an important player for Australia. You have to remember that he has played at a high level and the experience of the previous tournaments is invaluable to the Australian team. So, you know, it’s important that he does well for Celtic, because if he does well for Celtic, he will be right for the Australian team.
“If it’s not working well for Celtic – again it goes to every player, if you’re not good for your club, you’re not going to play well for Australia. You can’t think, well, I’ve got three or four weeks to warm up for the World Cup. No, to be ready for the national team, you’ve got to play well now, so when you go there, go straight away.” you can.
Apart from Muay Thai, I asked Kewell which football he believes will have the biggest impact in Qatar.
Kewell said, “You know what? I’m honestly looking forward to – and I know you’re going to turn around and say that’s the easy way out of this question, but I never like to break it down to individuals.
“I think the most effective teams are teams, and when we talk about certain individuals or how they play, I think that’s kind of disrespectful because a team, you know, an individual can win a game, right? But a team wins competitions, and you have to prepare your team.
“And whether you start or sit on the bench or miss out, you’re still part of the team and I think it’s important that the Australian team sticks together – because it’s going to be difficult, there’s some amazing teams out there, some amazing players out there. But if we sit there and work as a team, maybe something different.” We can work.