Clubless Australia great Harry Kewell remains committed to resurrecting his comatose career and playing at the FIFA 2014 World Cup, according to his Sydney-based management team.
Eager to downplay comments from Kewell himself last week when he stated he would be "happy to move on with a different career” if a new club could not be found, Rob Smith, of Sport & Entertainment Limited, insisted that the search for a new home continues for the former Leeds United, Liverpool, Galatasaray and Melbourne Victory star.
Insistent that 34-year-old Kewell’s career is not in the past tense, Smith said: “Harry continues to look for opportunities with clubs in Europe and the UK and further afield if necessary, but never too far from home.
“He certainly still wants to play in Brazil in two years’ time for his country and as recently as last weekend he was in discussions with a club, so I suspect talk of retirement would have been nothing more than a throwaway line.
“He hasn’t given up on his career, far from it. He remains a great player and still has a lot to offer.
“The fact he hasn't played in Europe, other than Turkey, for some time now is obviously a factor.
“As good as the A-League is, the clubs in Europe operate on another level, so convincing them that Harry still has a lot to offer has been the issue.
“The same would basically go for just about any other Australian player coming out of the A-League.”
Kewell rejected a $1 million contact extension at Melbourne Victory, and also an offer from Saudi outfit Al Shabab, back in June, to instead return to England for family reasons.
He has since struggled to find a club willing to take a risk on a player who, in his last incarnation in England – a five-year stint at Liverpool – found himself on the treatment table more of the than the pitch.
Kewell has struggled to shake that stigma, hence the difficulty in attracting offers.
Smith insisted that talk of SEL refusing to work with other agents in pursuit of a new home for Kewell was false, declaring: “Harry has engaged agents in the UK from the time he returned there with our blessing and that has never been an issue.”
Kewell, voted Australia's greatest ever footballer, played just one season with Melbourne Victory in the A-League before the illness of wife Sheree’s mother prompted a sudden return to England, where he is now based, near Manchester.
It has been claimed that Kewell has turned aside potential deals in Turkey – and even at a Premier League club in recent months – but the 58-cap Socceroos veteran, who played at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, insists there have been no tangible offers.
"None at all,” he told Sky Sports in England last week. “It has been difficult when you have been out of the country for a while, but that is how it goes in football.”
The Socceroos delivered SBS its highest rating program so far this year with more than 1.5 million Australians tuning in to see them qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Iraq on Tuesday night.