Tim Cahill's international future could be as a striker for Australia, new national coach Holger Osieck said on Sunday. The 30-year-old has been a free-scoring midfielder for his country and for Everton in the English Premiership, but the German coach is tinkering with exploiting his predatory instincts more fully for the Socceroos.
Cahill was part of a two-pronged attack with Nagoya's Josh Kennedy in Australia's impressive 1-0 win over FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finalists Paraguay in Sydney on Saturday, and Osieck liked what he saw.
"Tim has that special touch up front," Osieck told reporters. "He has all the ingredients. He is good in the air, he is good at controlling the ball, he is a good finisher.
"He has power in his strike, even from long distance, and you can only do that when you have an excellent shooting technique. Why waste him in the midfield, too far back?"
Osieck, who is unbeaten in his three internationals in charge of the Socceroos since taking over from Dutchman Pim Verbeek, said he could see no reason why Cahill could not become an accomplished striker.
"Tim matches well with Scott McDonald or Kennedy," he said. "I think it's more important you have a pair that complements each other. I always try to pair different players and I will see which works best. Maybe in Egypt I'm going to try other options."
Australia are likely to have a match against Egypt in Cairo next month as their final hit-out before January's Asian Cup in Qatar. Cahill, who has scored 21 goals in 45 internationals, had played as a striker under Osieck's predecessor Verbeek, but only in a 4-5-1 formation. Osieck is a devotee of the more fluid 4-4-2 style and he is trying different combinations in his search for the perfect partnership for the Asian Cup.
"When we get our stuff together we are defensively well organised and set up, and if we play very courageously like we did against Paraguay, then I am confident that the Asian Cup will be a very good tournament for us," he said.
A smart volley from Blackpool defender David Carney in the 53rd minute proved the difference as the Socceroos remained unbeaten in five encounters with the 17th-ranked Paraguayans. Despite doubts about him playing following a knee injury, Cahill lasted for 76 minutes against Paraguay before he was substituted.