Such is the mythic position that Tim Cahill now occupies in Australian soccer history that it sometimes appears there is something otherworldly about him.
His ability to pop up at the right time and place, to score such crucial goals, his longevity and freakish sense of timing seem uncanny.
His place among the pantheon of Australian greats is secure, and even on the world stage he is part of a rare band to have played and scored in three World Cups.
Yes, we know Cahill was born in western Sydney to a father from London and a Western Samoan mother, and that he left home and went to the unprepossessing surrounds of south-east London at an early age to play for Millwall.
He is a player who has never been much of a dribbler, he's hardly known as an incisive passer of the ball, he is a clumsy tackler (hence the suspension that kept him out of Australia's game with Spain) and not known as someone who can control the rhythm and flow of a game.
Yet he exercises extraordinary influence and can shape the outcome of a match in an instant with his ability to get into the penalty area at the perfect moment to meet the ball with either his head or his foot to score crucial goals. It's a priceless, innate talent that few possess.
His former teammates are in no doubt what his secret is It's sheer force of will, character, hard work and an unquenchable thirst for success allied to a "never give up" mentality.
''Timmy is amazing. You see him out on the pitch, you know he is never going to stop, never going to give up. He is a winner, a fighter, he always wants the ball, he always wants to do something with it, he fights, he scraps he just never gives up. It's something in him, it's hard to teach that,'' says Craig Moore, his former international captain and now a mentor with the Australian team.
It's a gift, a force of character, an element of nature that makes Cahill what he is: that, and the preparedness to work hard, believe in himself and never take no for an answer.
» Read the full article at Melbourne Age
Reader Comments (25)
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1 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:13:51
Not unduly laden with natural talent but he had that magic about him; that he could make things happen. Super goal in the World Cup too.
2 Posted 02/07/2014 at 20:31:58
3 Posted 02/07/2014 at 20:41:23
4 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:44:35
I felt he was at his best though in a midfield three with a holding player behind him where he could pressurise, cover every blade of grass, be combative, keep possession well, and most importantly arrive late in the box for crucial goals.
After Fellaini, I always thought MoyesÂs greatest mistake was forgetting Cahill was a great attacking centre mid and instead converting him into some sort of second striker to jump for goal kicks and flick ons.
People say his technique was never the best but what is the definition of technique? HeÂs still the best header of a ball IÂve ever seen in my lifetime, and as his volley against Holland and goal against Chelsea show heÂs clearly got other skills in armoury.
In my eyes, a great Everton player who singlehandedly gave people hope in dark times in the post Rooney period. Our season often hinged on his fitness. Sadly his quality has been judged retrospectively with recent seasons in mind rather than when he was in his prime and easily our best player.
5 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:51:09
6 Posted 02/07/2014 at 21:58:55
Yeah, Arteta and Cahill were boss as a young Evertonian. Gave me enough great memories to last me through the dark times of the Fellaini Rodwell Neville years.
7 Posted 02/07/2014 at 22:11:26
An out-and-out winner.
8 Posted 03/07/2014 at 00:25:16
9 Posted 02/07/2014 at 23:35:08
Certainly, his heading ability stands out for a man with his relatively small stature.
What a player!
10 Posted 03/07/2014 at 04:45:39
But Duncan was a man amongst boys in that regard. If heÂd played rugby union or league, heÂd have been a shy boy amongst the Martin Johnsons, Zinzan Brooks, etc., of his time.
Cahill on the other hand was the real deal. He didnÂt go out to play the thug. He just played it with the aggression, will to win and Âno quarter given, none asked forÂ attitude that came with being born and bred in the Western Suburbs of Sydney surrounded by rugby union and rugby league playing cousins.
He was as Paul #7 describes, and is the greatest Everton player of the Premier League era; and by that fact alone, given the gulf in quality between that league and the old Football League, he has got be ranked up there with EvertonÂs best full stop.
11 Posted 03/07/2014 at 05:41:23
12 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:27:28
I just find it slightly ironic that the praise is being heaped upon him now, when the start of his international career was delayed when Football Federation Australia refused to sanction his international registration, due to him having played for Samoa at U20 level at the age of 14, even though FIFA had changed the rules. He fought that decision for 2 years before they relented, and now he's their talisman.
How ironic it would've been if he'd been able to take up Ireland's offer of a place in their World Cup squad for 2002. Subsequently he would've been eligible for any of the home nations due to years of residence in UK.
13 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:33:47
A player who, from memory, matched Dixie DeanÂs record for scoring in Derbies at Anfield, holds the record for headed goals in the Premier League and made the most of the talent he was blessed with.
His goal in the World Cup was a fitting conclusion to a great career where he gave everything for club and country, I would take him into the trenches with me every day of the week.
Legend might be a bit much but if Everton had a Hall of Fame (maybe we have.....?) heÂd be nailed on.
14 Posted 03/07/2014 at 07:58:37
15 Posted 03/07/2014 at 08:03:20
16 Posted 03/07/2014 at 09:11:08
17 Posted 03/07/2014 at 13:15:04
Added to his 'run through a brick wall' attitude and how he totally 'gets' Everton, he'll always be a modern legend to me.
I was chuffed to bits that his World Cup goal reminded everyone just now much he had to offer and how playing always mattered to him.
Love the bones of him. Come back and see us soon, Tim.
18 Posted 03/07/2014 at 17:22:16
19 Posted 03/07/2014 at 17:31:50
20 Posted 03/07/2014 at 18:10:45
21 Posted 03/07/2014 at 22:13:44
22 Posted 04/07/2014 at 20:25:09
24 Posted 06/07/2014 at 00:46:02
25 Posted 08/07/2014 at 01:38:42
Would the residency rules have been relevant? I thought he was born in Australia to a Samoan mother and a father of Irish descent but from London, so I'd have thought he could have chosen to play for any of a few different countries.
26 Posted 11/07/2014 at 19:40:10
He was a player who always looked like he loved it as much as the fans and gave his all to whoever asked him to play. I think if he was playing with his kids down the park he'd be running to the corner flag like a berserk welterweight after a goal.
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