Bridges backs Kewell to shine

REINVIGORATED Jets No.10 Michael Bridges believes good friend Harry Kewell could return to the A-League with a burning hunger if lured to Newcastle.

Jets chief executive  Robbie Middleby said on Tuesday that the club was considering chasing Kewell for next season after the shock exit of Ryan Griffiths to China.

By the time next season’s A-League kicks off Kewell will be 35 and will have spent 18 months away from football.

But Bridges, who retired in April 2011 but returned six months later, is confident Kewell would have no trouble returning to professional football, and the 18-month break might even prolong his career.

‘‘It helps in a few ways in making you realise you want it so much more,’’ Bridges said of a player taking a break from football in his   30s.

‘‘Sometimes you take it for granted what football is and you lose sight of that, so you get hungrier.

‘‘Secondly, it makes you fresher.  Your  body has had a break from the game and it’s had time to recoup.

‘‘I know Harry has had a few problems with injuries over the years, but when he left Melbourne Victory last time he was on fire and obviously due to family reasons he had to make a big decision.’’

Kewell scored eight goals in 25 appearances for the Victory last season but left after one year of a three-year contract to return to England.

Bridges played a vital role in luring Jets marquee man Emile Heskey to the club this season.

Bridges, who is himself fighting to convince Jets management he is worth re-signing for next season, is happy to market the club to Kewell if required.

‘‘I would absolutely love it, and I expect a lot of fans would love it as well,’’ Bridges said.

‘‘He’s a great lad and a great player. He hasn’t been in the game for a year, but he still looks after himself and he’s as fit as a fiddle.

‘‘I wasn’t in the game for half a year and you’re still hungry and you still have a football brain, so if he could get here, it would be awesome. 

‘‘If a phone call is needed from myself, I’m sure I could do that and try and persuade him.’’

Jets coach Gary van Egmond also said he would love to have Kewell next season.

‘‘He’s been a wonderful player and to have someone like Harry in your football team can only be a positive,’’ van Egmond said.

‘‘Obviously from his point of view he has a couple of ambitions, getting back and playing, and the other is to get into a World Cup. I really like players who have that ambition.’’

Kewell has said he is desperate to play regular football to earn his way into a third Socceroos World Cup squad next year in Brazil.

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