Durakovic : Kewell 'phenomenal'

Star Victory recruit Harry Kewell impressed his coach Mehmet Durakovic along with rival Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen upon his debut for Melbourne in their 1-1 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Star Victory recruit Harry Kewell impressed his coach Mehmet Durakovic along with rival Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen upon his debut for Melbourne in their 1-1 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Despite only playing the first 45 minutes of the match, Kewell was pivotal in a number of the Victory's attacks.

The 33-year-old looked lively from the outset, particularly when he was positioned behind the strikers in an attacking midfield role.

The former Leeds and Liverpool star was the creative spark for Melbourne going forward and had a hand in all of their genuine chances to score.

Kewell's first piece of brilliance came in the 14th minute when he provided Archie Thompson with a glorious chance from a precise cross, only for the 2006-07 John Marston Medal winner to miscue his header.

The Qantas Socceroo further showed off his range of skills with a number of neat through balls and touches, including a back heel pass that almost resulted in a Victory goal, had Tom Pondeljak not skewed his shot wide.

Durakovic recognised Kewell's contribution in his A-League debut and was delighted with a performance he described as 'phenomenal'.

"I was very happy with his performance, absolutely over the moon," Durakovic said.

"There were about 10,000 supporters out there that would have been really pleased to see Harry [playing] first time on Australian soil."

"The performance that he did for 45 minutes was phenomenal. His touches, his running, his ball passing ... I'm very happy with his performance."

Durakovic, who replaced former coach Ernie Merrick in June, said Friday's friendly was only a glimpse of what Kewell was capable of, suggesting the ex-Galatasaray attacker had a lot more to show and would only improve with further match fitness.

"Physically he's in really good shape, he's just not match fit really, but he did do really well for the first 45 minutes," Durakovic said.

"I thought he played really well tonight for 45 minutes, you could see he wasn-t out of place at all."

"He matched it with everybody else, his touches were there and physically he looks really fit, he just needs a bit more game time, but he's a true professional."

Durakovic said Kewell was itching to play longer than the first-half, but wanted the left-footer fit and ready for their opening season clash with Sydney FC on October 8.

"He could have [played longer]. Knowing Harry he wanted to play a bit longer," Durakovic said.

"We thought enough's enough with 45 minutes just to get some ice on him and wrap him up in cotton wool."

"Harry's a professional footballer and he should be ready for the eighth of October."

Kewell's strong debut was also acknowledged by Coolen who shared similar praise for the Socceroos' youngest ever debutant.

"His movement, his touches, how he creates space for himself and how he gets some very good balls to his players around - it's another level," Coolen said.

"That's what you saw in 45 minutes, and hopefully for everyone, especially Melbourne Victory, that he's going to get that fitness so he can do it for 90 minutes."

"It was very nice to watch a very high level player."

Melbourne kick off their 2011/2012 season on October 8 against Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium, while Adelaide begin their campaign against Perth Glory on October 9 at nib Staidum.