Harry Kewell is optimistic he will be fit and ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ despite suffering a setback with his recovery from groin surgery.
Kewell has only played a handful of minutes for Galatasaray since having an operation in January and the Turkish club's assistant coach, Johan Neeskens, has been quoted as saying that an injury setback could see the Socceroos striker miss the FIFA World Cup.
But the player himself has told News Limited Publications that while he is taking precautions not to aggravate the injury, he is confident he can be fit again for the tournament opener against Germany on 13 June.
"It (the injury) is still there a little bit so we're taking precautions now," Kewell said. "The plan is to train this week and see how I cope. If I don't play, then it's not meant to be. I'm still resting these old legs. There are still a few more games (for Australia) before the World Cup."
Kewell is considered a key player for Australia with the Socceroos struggling for striking options. However, coach Pim Verbeek will be heartened by the form of Josh Kennedy, who scored twice in Nagoya Grampus' 2-1 win over Vegatta Sandal in the J.League. It takes Kennedy's season tally to seven, while he has scored four in the past three games.
The plan is to train this week and see how I cope. If I don't play, then it's not meant to be.
Team-mate Jason Culina believes Kewell still has what it takes to contribute even if he's not 100 per cent fit going into the tournament in South Africa.
"Harry is a great player and he has shown over the years how good he actually is and whether it's 75, 90 or 100 per cent, Harry will always contribute to the team," Culina said. "But even if he is at 75 per cent, I think he's still a great asset to the team.
"He's always working extremely hard and he is one of those players who is always in the gym and doing his best to be out on the park and that's why he's such a good player. I think he'll be right this little setback is I think only short term, and hopefully he'll be there against New Zealand and the friendly match after that."