Tim Cahill’s big-game experience and ability to be a match-winner for the Caltex Socceroos is likely to outweigh his lack of game time at club level in his hopes of making a fourth FIFA World Cup.
Cahill was on Monday named in Bert van Marwijk’s 32-man preliminary squad, which will be trimmed to 23 for the tournament in Russia.
There have been question marks over Cahill’s spot in the squad, with the 38-year-old playing a total of just 63 minutes since his move to English Championship club Millwall in January.
While he didn’t guarantee Cahill’s selection in the final squad, van Marwijk dubbed the situation regarding Australia’s greatest-ever scorer as a “special case”.
“I had long conversations with Tim in Norway [in the March friendlies] and he is a special case,” van Marwijk told reporters on Monday.
“He is special in everything. He is 38 and maybe one of the best-ever players for Australia. He is a very good striker.
“He doesn’t play [much at the moment], maybe five or 10 or 20 minutes.
“Also he has a problem that he is suspended ([or Millwall] and I have to take a decision whether to take him to the world championship.”
Tim Cahill played just over an hour since his switch to Millwall.
Cahill is aiming to join a select group of players to not only to play at a fourth FIFA World Cup but also score in one.
And throughout his career Cahill has often been a saviour for the Caltex Socceroos, scoring important goals and often making the difference on the big stage.
“He is not 19 like [Daniel] Arzani, he’s twice as old, but is also a player who can make a difference,” van Marwijk said of Cahill.
“He will not be nervous if we play in front of 80,000 people.
“I have to make a choice in the end about the strikers, and it will not be easy, but that’s why I’m here. I’m not afraid of that.”
Van Marwijk is expected to trim his squad to 26 or 27 players next week before flying off for their pre-FIFA World Cup camp in Turkey.
That’s where the squad will go through a rigorous training regime for three weeks before the Caltex Socceroos boss must settle on his final 23-man squad for the tournament.
Australia opens their FIFA World Cup campaign with a game against France in Kazan on June 16.
Source : Socceroos Website