Jedinak backing Cahill to dig deep for World Cup spot

Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak, the hat-trick hero who clinched Australia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification, believes all-time top scorer Tim Cahill won’t let lack of game time at Millwall derail his quest to reach Russia.

Cahill and Jedinak

Cahill and Jedinak Source: Getty Images

The 38-year-old attacking talisman has racked up just 39 minutes from six appearances off the bench, going into this weekend’s English Championship trip to Barnsley and the Socceroos camp to follow.

He has yet to score for the Lions and combined with just seven appearances at former club Melbourne City this season, Cahill has seen a mere 177 minutes of game time this season at club level, without scoring.

While acknowledging it’s “not ideal” preparation going into camp for next Friday’s trip to Norway and clash with Colombia in London four days later, Jedinak reckons if anybody can turn limited exposure it into a positive it’s the effervescent Cahill.

“Timmy will be the first one to say that ideally he’d want to have played a little bit more but he’s a professional and he will know that sometimes you have to bide your time,” said Aston Villa midfielder Jedinak, speaking as a World Cup ambassador for Hisense.

“Of course he’d have wanted a few more minutes on the pitch but that’s just the way things are and he’ll be working doubly hard to rectify that.”

Cahill did manage all 120 minutes in October’s 2-1 World Cup elimination win over Syria to continue his uncanny knack of rescuing his country, and with Australia struggling to find a potent strike weapon he remains on course for a fourth straight World Cup.

“He knows himself better than anybody and we all know that when it comes to preparing for that national team he’ll be doing his utmost to make sure he’s in the best possible shape coming into camp and in the build up to the World Cup,” said Jedinak.

The skipper can’t hide his sense of anticipation at working under new coach Bert van Marwijk.

“There’s a feeling of excitement around having a new coach at the helm and I’m just looking forward to getting the work done on the training paddock,” he said.

“The pedigree of the manager and his previous achievements are fantastic.

“It whets the appetite to want to work with him because he has such a vast amount of experience and knowledge. And part of that was taking Holland to the World Cup final (in 2010).

“Ange (Postecoglou) leaving was a surprise to us - that goes without saying - but then it was all about what direction do we take now? And looking forward to what was coming next.

“It’s been about refocusing and while there isn’t much time between now and the World Cup, I can guarantee you not a moment is going to be wasted.

“We’re at the World Cup but the hard work is happening right now, starting with the friendly games.

“It’s all about taking in the messages the new boss gives us now and taking that out onto the pitch. That’s going to be critical.”

Van Marwijk looks set to bin Postecoglou’s oft-criticized 3-2-4-1 four a more traditional 4-4-1-1, but Jedinak is not buying into the pros and cons of either.

“I’m not sure about the tactical side of things but I’m sure all is about to be revealed,” he said.

“I don’t want to speculate. What matters is making sure that we do what’s required of us and give ourselves every opportunity to make the most of matches ahead of us.”

Mile Jedinak, together with Elyse Perry, has signed on as a brand ambassador for Hisense, the official television (and a sponsor) of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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4 min read
Published 16 March 2018 at 6:03pm
By Dave Lewis