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Sep 3, 2013

Captain Kewell eyeing Heart A-League title

Harry Kewell has set himself to lead Melbourne Heart to their maiden A-League championship and book his spot for next year's World Cup.

The 34-year-old Socceroos veteran was on Wednesday confirmed as the Heart's captain for the coming season.

It will be his first season at the Heart and first time captaining any club, although he did skipper the Socceroos for four matches in 2008.

Kewell has big ambitions for a club that finished ninth last season.

"I know what I want to achieve and that's the title," Kewell told reporters.

"I dream big, I think big, so that's what I want to achieve.

"That's the kind of attitude I want the players to be thinking about.

"There's no point thinking about second."

Kewell is similarly upbeat about his personal prospects.

The former Leeds and Liverpool star has played just three club matches - for Qatar club Al Gharafa - since leaving Melbourne Victory for family reasons after the 2011-12 season.

But he said he's training hard and in great shape.

"That's the reason I came out here in July," Kewell said.

"To get a solid pre-season under my belt and to show not only to myself but to John and to Melbourne Heart and to Australia that I'm ready to play hopefully a great season in the A-League and give myself every opportunity to be part of the Australian squad that's going to travel to Brazil."

Kewell replaces Fred as skipper, the Brazilian part of a large group of experienced players, also including Simon Colosimo, Matt Thompson, Richard Garcia and Clint Bolton, to have departed in the off-season.

Aloisi said Kewell was an easy captaincy choice, as his teammates had lifted from the moment he arrived and he set an excellent example both on-field and in his preparation and training.

"The younger players see that," the coach said.

"When they see a 34-year-old doing that, they actually lift themselves and they know what it takes to be a great professional."

Meanwhile, Aloisi said the Heart's Dutch marquee signing Orlando Engelaar, who fractured his tibia in a recent pre-season match, would not need surgery, but would not run for three months and might not play again for up to six months.

The Heart are seeking an injury replacement player.

But fellow Dutch signing Rob Wielaert (ankle) should play in the club's October 12 season-opener against Melbourne Victory.

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