Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip says Harry Kewell's second spell in the Hyundai A-League has had mixed success ahead of his captain's final match.
Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip says Harry Kewell's second spell in the Hyundai A-League has not been a success on the field, but believes the veteran will leave an important legacy for the club's younger players.
Having announced his decision to retire at the end of the season, Kewell's last professional game will be Saturday home match against Western Sydney Wanderers tomorrow (Sat).
The 35-year-old started 10 games and came off the bench five times in an injury-interrupted 2013-14 campaign, with Heart missing out on the finals and battling to avoid finishing last.
When asked if he felt John Aloisi's decision to sign Kewell had been justified, van 't Schip said: "If you look at our ranking (on the league table), it's not.
"If you look at the games he has played, it's not been a success. But that's a part of sport. He's been unfortunate with his injuries."
Van 't Schip chose instead to focus on the former Liverpool and Leeds player's positive influence on his inexperienced team-mates.
"It's been a success in other ways, because he left a legacy in that the young players could see how you have to live as a professional, how you have to prepare for a game or training," he said.
"And of course his input with his stories to the younger players about all aspects of football."
Those same players have given plenty back to Kewell, helping someone who had fallen out of love with the game after leaving Melbourne Victory in 2012 to enjoy his final campaign.
"I came here and I knew what the club was about, I knew how the club was structured. And I knew what kind of players the club had," Kewell said.
"It hasn't been the greatest year for me, obviously I've (had) a few injuries this year. But every single player has been fantastic. They've always put a smile on my face.
"They're a great bunch of guys to work with. For me it's been a great pleasure to play with them and to finish with a bunch of guys like this is a great pleasure for me."
Match Details Melbourne Heart FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers Saturday, 12 April 2014 AAMI Park, Melbourne Kick-off: 5.30pm Click here to purchase tickets.