Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer Tim Cahill will earn his 108th and final cap against Lebanon tonight. In his own words, the former Everton star looks back on his Socceroos career which included five memorable World Cup goals.
On taking on the leadership role and mentoring of younger players off the pitch.
There are two things. You take a leadership role and you take individual ownership of playing.
As well as being a part of the success, you not only have an impact by playing in these tournaments, you show these kids what they haven’t seen before and that is pressure
Taking the pressure off them which they might not know themselves is the best thing.
Playing in the English Premier League I came up against some really powerful players like Thierry Henry.
I learnt so much about the game that football shouldn’t be the only defining factor in tournaments that you have to concentrate on.
There is too much onus on it, and it can lead to a lot of anxiety.
They are so young and inexperienced it can get to them it affects their sleep, their training program and it affects the way you eat.
But when you are in a relaxed atmosphere, you can play Mario Kart with eight players on PS4. You can play FIFA at the same time and you can hang out in each other’s room and listen to music. It feels like we are all in it together
On performing on the pitch
This environment, staying in hotels, we know we have to be in bed before midnight. But I remember playing Mario Kart with the boys till silly o’clock and winning games.
But the more mentally relaxed you are, and as long as you get your eight hours sleep, you are free, because you know what you are going to do.
Your boss gives you your plan on the pitch. You have been through it day in and day out and you know your tactics.
You know who you are going to mark on the defensive corner.
You know where you are going to run in an attacking play. The rest is about the individual and how he is going to make it count for himself.
Is he going to do is own job and help his mate?
Because the environment that we create you are not only going to do your job, you are going to do four other jobs because it’s more than just an individual sport.
As told to Con Stamocostas