Socceroos star Tim Cahill has reaffirmed his desire to represent Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, when he will be approaching 35 years of age.
Cahill, an established member in the Socceroos camp and one of Australia’s most respected footballers, needs little motivation after his country’s disappointing campaign at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
The midfielder saw red in Australia’s 4-0 lashing at the hands of Germany and missed the Ghana game due to suspension, though he did score in the Socceroos’ swansong against Serbia.
Cahill, 31, returned to the national side in time for the Asian Cup in January and played through a rolled ankle as Australia fell heartbreakingly short in the final against Japan.
His commitment to the Socceroos has caused friction in England, where Cahill plies his trade at club level with English Premier League outfit Everton.
David Moyes was an outspoken critic of Cahill’s desire to play in the Asian Cup, and the Toffees boss proved correct in his fears as the Australian returned to Goodison Park nursing a foot injury that has limited his playing time since.
But despite the wear and tear national duty has exacted on his body, Cahill is determined to make it to the 2014 Brazil finals should the Socceroos qualify; though he admits he hopes to be fighting for his place against an improving younger generation of Australian footballers.
“Everyone knows me already – if I’m fit then I’m there. End of (story),” he told The World Game on Monday.
“I never say no to my country. It’s one of those questions that I get asked every year, after every Australia game. It’s simple – if I’m fit then I’m there, if I’m selected then I’m there.”
“Hopefully by that time there’ll be some great youngsters that are pushing us out of the team and going on and doing greater things.”
“But if I’m selected then I’ll 100 percent be there.”
In the meantime, however, Cahill has admitted he needs a break to heal his nagging foot complaint before the next Premier League season.
Australian football officials are hopeful of scheduling in friendly matches against Serbia and possibly New Zealand in June, but Cahill has intimated he will take no part in the fixtures.
“I’ve played seven years (with) no rest in the summer, probably more,” he said.
“I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve got a foot problem but I’m buzzing. I love football and I love playing for my country.”
“But also I think common sense has to prevail. I missed the Germany game and I’ll probably miss the next couple of games because they’re friendlies.”
“For me, when it’s competition and it’s something where I’m going to win something or get something out of it, then I’ll be back playing.”
“But at the moment now my main focal point is the Premier League and obviously doing well for my club.”
Moyes has spoken out in favour of Cahill’s withdrawal from Australia’s friendly schedule, saying he felt Cahill would be better served concentrating on his club duties for the time being.
“He definitely needs a break because he played in the World Cup and then he went to the Asian Games. I don’t think that’s helpful, in fact it’s really hindered him in my eyes,” the Everton boss said.
“Because of that I think he needs to start looking after himself, to get himself in condition.”
“He’s been really good for Everton but Everton have also been really good for him as well so it’s important he does look at the club.”
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