Socceroos legend Tim Cahill will be fondly remembered by Premier League fans across the world for his combative nature and aerial dominance, with many agreeing that he left Everton and the Premier League too early. Everton could certainly do with their former charge this season to bolster a limp front line currently firing them straight to the Championship.
The opinion that Cahill left too soon for New York Red Bulls was reinforced further still when he lit up the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a tremendous solo effort versus the Netherlands.
Not many players can boast the longevity that Cahill has achieved in their career and the dedication and desire that he has shown. Many Socceroo fans’ hearts would have sunk when they saw the legendary striker limp off just 25 minutes into Melbourne City’s A-League match following a collision with Sydney FC’s Jordi Buijs and landing awkwardly on his right ankle. However, following extensive round-the-clock treatment, for 48 hours, the 37-year-old was passed fit to fly to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras.
According to Fox Sports, Cahill was receiving treatment from 6am to 11pm the day after the injury and from 8am the following day, which is a testament to the desire of Australian captain to be fit for the crucial World Cup qualifier. Even with the best will in the world and round the clock physiotherapy, no one can play forever, not even Timmy.
The question is, how will the Socceroos cope when the talismanic striker does finally decide to call it a day and hang up his boots? The current national team undoubtedly has quality throughout with many players playing in the top leagues across Europe such as Aaron Mooy for Huddersfield Town who’s midfield dynamism has helped the Terriers climb to 11th in the Premier League table. Huddersfield were odds-on favourites to be relegated this season; however, they are now priced at $1.33 to avoid the drop in the latest football betting odds, ahead of Palace, Swansea and West Ham.
Between the sticks is clearly where Australia have the greatest strength and depth; Mitchell Langerak has recently earnt a move to La Liga side Levante, Danny Vukovic is now playing for Jupiler Pro League club Genk and, of course, Matthew Ryan moved from Valencia to Premier League club Brighton. This being said, the issue will surely be in front the opposition’s goal. Robbie Kruse, Matthew Leckie, Tomi Juric and Nikita Rukavytsya have a combined total of 20 goals in 152 games, compared to Cahill’s 50 in 103, potentially leaving them drastically short of goals from their forward line.
Australia have high hopes for Ipswich Town’s 18-year-old forward Ben Folami, who is highly rated by Ipswich and made his senior debut against Crystal Palace in the League Cup second round on 22 August. Another player held in high regard is 23-year-old Kwame Yeboah, who is currently plying his trade in Germany to for Borussia Mönchengladbach II, following his professional debut for Brisbane Roar in 2013.
Cahill’s influence for the Socceroos cannot be underestimated; he is effectively Australia’s answer to Sweden’s Ibrahimovic. Australia can only hope that their current crop of stars and one or a number of their promising young players can make the step up over the next year or so in order to offset the loss of Cahill, a daunting task for anyone to undertake.