Australian midfielder Harry Kewell on Tuesday dismissed criticism he was an expensive flop at Liverpool but admitted lingering regret that Reds' manager Rafael Benitez never saw his best form.
Kewell was released by Liverpool this month after an injury-plagued five years at the English Premier League club, during which he failed to live up to the hype surrounding his arrival in 2003.
British newspapers calculated Kewell cost Liverpool 160,000 pounds (312,000 dollars) a game in his 138 appearances for the club, providing a meagre return of just 16 goals.
His injury record prompted one newspaper to comment that Kewell cost more per game than an episode of Australian soap “Neighbours” but lasted half as long.
Kewell brushed aside the stinging British media criticism, remarking: “When are they ever polite?”
“There are always scapegoats, there are always people they want to blame,” he told reporters in Australia ahead of a Socceroos friendly against Ghana in Sydney Friday.
“It's unfortunate I was one of them because I didn't put my hand up to get injured. It's a shame because I ain't done nothing wrong.
“It's something that they live and die for over there.
“They want to write things that aren't nice, but you just don't read it and you get on with your life.”
The 29-year-old said he knew what he was capable of producing on the pitch but injuries meant he was never able to display his full abilities to Benitez.
“The one person I would like to show is probably my old manager,” he said.
“I didn't get a chance to show him a lot of what I could do. It would be great just to show him what I was capable of doing.”
Earlier this month Benitez said Liverpool had tried to reach an agreement with Kewell — who was on a reported 50,000 pounds a week — but it had not been possible.
Kewell played down reports suggesting he was moving to FA Cup winners Portsmouth, saying he was keeping his options open
“I have never shied away from going abroad, playing in the Premiership or playing anywhere,” he said.
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