Amid ongoing speculation over his club future, Australia star Harry Kewell admitted the A-League is a faster, tougher competition than he ever imagined.
Speaking on the eve of the Socceroos' 2014 World Cup qualifier against Oman, Kewell, who signed an incentive-laden three-year deal with Melbourne Victory at the beginning of the 2011/2012 season, revealed he was surprised by the intensity and level of play in the A-League.
"When I was speaking to a lot of players about going back (to the A-league) they were saying 'it's easy' and this, that and the other," Kewell said.
"But I've found it to be the complete opposite. I found it fast, I found it furious. The strength was there, the power was there.
"It was different to everything people had told me it was. It's a tough little league and I want to be able to correct what we (Victory) didn't achieve this year."
Despite these intentions, Kewell, who trained in London after Victory's season ended has reportedly exercised an opt-out clause in his Victory deal as he seeks a more secure contract.
"All I can say is we're all working together," Kewell said. "My family loved Melbourne which for me is an important thing. All the boys made me feel special when I got there and there's no reason why I wouldn't be there."
On a possible move to the Western Sydney club, which represents the area where Kewell grew up, he said: "It's an interesting option but again, Melbourne captured something deep within me. It's a beautiful city to be apart of and to live in.
"But again, my family do love Melbourne."
Kewell's immediate focus is on Oman, which he predicted would be a tough opponent for the Socceroos, who lost to the home side in Muscat in November.
"Oman always play it down. They always talk us up and we've come to accept that. We are used to that and we know what we have to do," Kewell said.
"They love to talk themselves down, then all of a sudden you play against them and it's like their players are playing for their lives.
"That's what we are trying to do this time. We're playing to get into a World Cup. It doesn't matter if you're a bank manager or a professional footballer when you get out onto that pitch it's man against man so you have just got to go out there and do your best."
Socceroos midfielder Carl Valeri will play Serie A football for the first time after Sassuolo claimed a maiden Serie B title with a 1-0 victory over third place Livorno.