Everton manager David Moyes has praised Australian Tim Cahill in the build-up to Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
Moyes’ side travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in an eagerly awaited clash, with Cahill, who has scored five times in 13 derbies between the two sides, shaping as Everton’s key man after the transfer window departures of strikers Yakubu and Jermaine Beckford left the Toffees short up front.
The Socceroo has deputised as a striker in recent weeks and that role is likely to continue on Saturday, with Moyes taking the chance to speak glowingly of Cahill’s contribution to the club on Friday.
“I think since he’s (Tim Cahill) come to the club he has been a player who scores important goals,” Moyes said.
“Not just in games like this, but in other games. He’s lacking a little bit at the moment with his goals, but hopefully they will come.”
Moyes referred to the Aussie as a representation of the club and hailed his impact at the club as good as anything that has happened in recent years.
“He epitomises a lot of our spirit and what we do here. He’s been excellent throughout his time here,” he said.
“I think he’s as a good as anything that has happened to Everton. I think he was a really good signing and confident in the lower leagues, and made us confident of signing players from that level. And not only that, he has become a really important player for us.”
But Cahill may have never played for Everton if Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright had not been so persistent to see him.
They went to see Cahill play for Millwall against Birmingham City but the crowd turned nasty, with abuse and even threats.
“It was Millwall-Birmingham and a play-off game, and Bill was driving me,” Moyes said.
“As we drove towards the ground, we got caught up in the crowd and they were battering the car on the way in, banging on the roof of the car, making a right racket and I said to Bill, ‘We’re going to get it here. It was lucky we didn’t turn the car around.”
“We came away and I said, ‘Bill, we’ve got to try and get him’.”
“Bill put an offer in the next week and we had the boy in his office and the minute he came in he lit the place up. He had that Aussie confidence saying ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’.”