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Ex-Socceroos midfielder Wade: Kewell should play through pain

Former Australia national team midfielder Paul Wade believes injured Socceroos star Harry Kewell should play through the pain at the World Cup.

The Galatasaray striker's campaign for the tournament in South Africa is under a cloud because of an ongoing groin injury which he aggravated last week but Wade says national team officials should take a gamble on his selection.

He also compared Kewell's injury to that of Chelsea hitman Didier Drogba who will definitely make himself available for Ivory Coast's World Cup plight.

"Pim Verbeek should take a gamble with Harry and the player himself should be prepared to play at any cost," Wade said.

"Harry is not the 90-minute player he was, but one flash of brilliance could produce something special and change a match.

"Drogba needs a groin operation and there's no way he won't be there inspiring the Ivory Coast.

"Harry should be thinking now and not the future. Groin injuries are very dodgy, but now's the time for him to get as much treatment as possible."

And Wade pointed out that he feels Verbeek needs to play with two strikers up front if Australia is to be any chance of progressing to the next phase of the competition.

"Obviously Josh Kennedy will start up front if Harry's not there," Wade said. "I went to see Scott McDonald play for Middlesbrough against West Brom while I was in England recently and I felt so sorry for him.

"He was playing that lone striker's role - up against two centre backs and a defensive midfielder. He would have been lucky to have touched the ball more than twice in the first half. It wasn't that much better in the second.

"I was thinking that if that's the way we (Socceroos) play at the World Cup then how are we ever going to score?

"Maybe Pim has to do some rethinking on how we tackle Germany, Ghana and Serbia. If Harry's not there it's going to be twice as hard. As I said, he's not the player he was, but he's the one who could still make things happen."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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