Speaking during the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005, Australia midfielder Tim Cahill was somewhat bemused by the amount of speculation concerning Frank Farina's position as coach of the national team.

Cahill was quick to praise Farina, the man who handed him his debut for Australia against South Africa in March 2004 and who he expected to take the Socceroos to the FIFA World Cup™ next summer. Instead Farina – who left his post by mutual cosent on Wednesday - now finds himself out of a job and denied the opportunity to take Australia to their first finals since Germany 1974.

Cahill's career has blossomed at domestic and international level in the 15 months since his first cap and he credits Farina with being particularly influential in that respect. "I don't think that Frank could have done any more than what he's done," he told FIFAworldcup.com in an exclusive interview.

"Personally he has done a lot for me in the background and I believe that if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be where I am today. I am sure he knows that all the boys have a lot of respect for him. He has a lot of influence on the way we play and the way we think, not only internationally but for our clubs as well."

Despite not gaining a single point in their FIFA Confederations Cup group matches against Germany, Argentina and Tunisia, Farina's Australia team gained a lot of respect for the effort they displayed and the contribution they made to some of the tournament's most entertaining matches.

However, the enthusiasm for their performances has not been shared by fans Down Under. In a poll on the Football Federation Australia website, 31 per cent of voters rated the Socceroos' campaign as ‘poor' while 24 per cent went as far as to call it ‘a disaster'.

Cahill, who described Farina as a "great man-manager", believes that Farina was hindered by some high-profile absences, explaining: "It's been very difficult for him. I don't think he's had a full team to choose from for a long time. He's had to do a lot of chopping and changing because people have been unavailable. Of course, every player who he has selected has given their all, but we have struggled for consistency and continuity, which hasn't been his fault.

"Frank is an honest guy. He doesn't need to tell anyone how good he is. He has played at the highest level and he understands the players. He prepares and coaches well, he knows what the players can do, he's a great man-manager and he is someone who everyone can really relate to. They are the ingredients of a top coach."