The Australia legend made his bow as a substitute against a Latrobe University side.
Harry Kewell made his long-awaited debut for Melbourne Heart on Tuesday night, much to the delight of coach John Aloisi.
The 34-year-old agreed a move to AAMI Park in June and was given his first run out in the Heart colours in front of 150 spectators as a half time substitute in the 12-0 pre-season friendly victory over a Latrobe University side at the Epping Stadium.
Aloisi was pleased to see the Kewell back on the field after a lengthy lay-off and felt it was the ideal setting to ease the Australia international back into action.
“We knew this would be a good game for him to start in,” the 37-year-old said to the Herald Sun. “He’s been training hard for the last month and it was about time he got to play some football and I thought he did well.
“He combined well with the players around him, now it’s just about players getting used to his style of play.”
Playing just three games in 17 months – all for Qatari side Al Gharafa in April – has certainly taken its toll on Kewell’s fitness but Aloisi believes it is just a matter of time before his physical condition improves and he builds a healthy connection with his team-mates.
“His fitness is going to improve – he’s feeling heavy because we’re working him very hard – and his match rhythm will come because he’ll play more games,” Aloisi added.
“Then it’s just about that understanding with his teammates. A lot of the players have played together before, but when you’ve got new players around you’ve got to get used to their style of play.
“You saw with the ball he put through for Gol Gol (Mebrahtu), he wasn’t really expecting it. Now once Gol plays with Harry a bit more he’ll know that’s coming.”