Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kewell and Viduka ranked among Leeds' best-ever

Kewell and Viduka ranked among Leeds' best-ever.
Two of Australia's greatest football exports have been ranked among the finest Leeds United players of all time.

A well-received article in The Times newspaper placed controversial pair Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka at numbers 13 and 14 in the list of the 50 best-ever Leeds stars.

The lofty ranking was met by surprise by a handful of respondents, but clearly illustrates the standing of the Socceroos duo in the eyes of Leeds supporters despite mixed receptions after leaving Elland Road.

Viduka, again absent for Australia's vital home World Cup qualifying clash against Uzbekistan next Wednesday, is not expected to remain with Newcastle at the end of his current deal after only a fleeting comeback following Achilles and groin injuries.

But Kewell's renaissance at Turkish side Galatasaray has banished his injury-blighted spell at Liverpool to distant memory.

"Ignore the inflated ego, the farcical exit and the failure at Liverpool and remember just how good Kewell was in his pomp. He was such a beautifully balanced runner with the ball and the goals he scored were astounding," praised The Times.

"In terms of natural talent, Kewell was as good as anyone on this list."

Viduka scored 16 goals in 72 appearances for Leeds after joining David O'Leary's side from Celtic.

His arrival in 2000 coincided with a golden period for the club and he was one of the cornerstones of the side which reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 and topped the Premier League for long spells the year after.

But Viduka failed to recreate that prolific form in subsequent stints with Middlesbrough and Newcastle and hasn’t always lived up to his billing in an Australia shirt.

"Neutrals may now have him painted as a double barrel-chested Aussie with the mincing gait of a stuffed sloth, but Viduka was, and probably still is, lustrously talented," said The Times.

"His lofty position here should not be judged by what happened afterwards."

Former Sydney FC striker Michael Bridges came in at number 49, principally for scoring 21 goals in his first season following a record-breaking transfer from Sunderland.

Bridges, 30, spent the second-half of the 2007/08 A-League season on loan from Hull City, scoring twice for Sydney in eight appearances.

"Bridges could have been one of the best strikers in the club's history - he was the record signing when bought for £5 million and scored a memorable hat-trick at Southampton - but there was a meningitis scare, drilled bones and no end of failed comebacks," said The Times.

Melbourne-born Tony Dorigo. the full-back who played 15 times for England and featured under Bobby Robson at Italia '90, was ranked at number 24.

The 10 greatest Leeds United players
1. Billy Bremner (1959-76) 771 appearances, 115 goals
2. John Charles (1947-57 & 1962) 327 apps, 157 goals
3. Peter Lorimer (1962-78 & 1984-85) 703 apps, 238 goals
4. Allan Clarke (1969-78) 364 apps, 151 goals
5. Johnny Giles (1963-75) 525 apps, 114 goals
6. Gordon Strachan (1988-96) 311 apps, 57 goals
7. Eddie Gray (1965-84) 577 apps, 68 goals
8. Jack Charlton (1952-73) 772 apps, 95 goals
9. Bobby Collins (1962-67) 167 apps, 25 goals
10. Gary McAllister (1990-96) 294 apps, 45 goals

Copyright © Marc Fox and Soccerphile.com

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