Cahill's Socceroos successor a work in progress

It's a question so often asked: who will replace Tim Cahill once his days as the spearhead for Australia come to an end?

Giannou Cahill

Source: Getty Images



Cahill's extraordinary aerial capacity and penchant for pin-point headers have been trademarks of the Socceroos' game for the last 12 years, spanning three World Cups.

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But while Australia's all-time leading goalscorer remains a key part of Ange Postecoglou's plans on the road to Russia 2018, the coach is already developing a national team that can thrive without the 36-year-old.

As the Socceroos squad grows in depth, it's evolving away from a reliance on a single - albeit prolific - penalty-box outlet such as Cahill.

Goals are starting to come from a wider range of sources and plays - five players scored Australia's seven against Tajikistan last week without Cahill on the field.

Postecoglou said the long-term aim was choice and variation.



In that context, he was encouraged by what he saw from Greece-born striker Apostolos Giannou in Adelaide on Thursday.

Despite missing a golden opportunity to score on debut, the 26-year-old former Greek youth international had four assists and an admirable workrate.



Postecoglou praised Giannou's ability to carve out space and connect with the players around him.

"When I coached him (as an Australian junior) he was a midfielder, so he's got that technical ability in tight spaces," he said.

"Now he's reinvented himself as a central striker, and I like that because, the way we play, we don't just want a focal point where things break down. We want someone who can contribute, and I thought he did that really well the other night.

"He was just missing a goal, and had enough opportunities.

"But I was very keen to get him because it gives us options."

Another such option up front is Brisbane's Jamie Maclaren, whose fruitful form will surely warrant a call-up for upcoming friendlies against England and Greece.

"We've been on tenterhooks over could Timmy do one more game? Would Tomi Juric be fit? All these things," Postecoglou said.

"We're slowly getting to a point where Timmy's still banging goals in, and if we can get Apo to start contributing, plus I saw Jamie Maclaren on Saturday night (score against Sydney FC) ... it's about getting to a point of every camp having strong options."


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2 min read
Published 29 March 2016 at 11:00am
Source: AAP