For too long Australian soccer
(football) has been dining out on the deeds of Harry Kewell who was a
wonderful player in his prime three or four years ago. But that was
then and this is now!

More to the point in the fickle world of
Premier League glory, why be wild about Liverpool’s Harry – who’s gone
missing with a chronic injury – when just a couple of miles across town
Everton have unearthed one of the League’s finds of the season in
Aussie Tim Cahill? The Cahill “express” helped Everton demolish Crystal
Palace 4-0, while also scoring two goals to take him into double
figures in his debut Premier League season.

Cahill is that
rarest of commodities – a goal-scoring mid-fielder who gets in the box
and scores – that is surely going to make him a future target for other
ambitious managers. Even as Everton mounts a determined challenge to
finish in the Premiership top four and win a Champions League place
next season. Everton is undoubtedly the surprise packet of the
2004-2005 League season and Cahill is its most accomplished player, one
who is already being hailed as a runaway winner of his club’s Player of
the Year award.

Now Cahill’s widely lauded midfield heroics
could see Everton in Europe with a totally unexpected top four Premier
League finish. In what Blues supporters can only see as even greater
karma after depression set in over the loss of their England teenage
talisman Wayne Rooney to Manchester United, that Champions League final
spot is almost certainly between Everton and arch rival Liverpool, who
now trail them by four points on the table with six matches remaining.

Such
has been the ease with which Cahill has played at the highest level for
both Everton and Australia, it’s almost a case of Harry “who” for many
Aussie soccer fans now. While his much higher profile Liverpool
neighbour has been getting the big bucks and all the Australian media
hype before now, and the big endorsements haven’t yet landed at
Cahill’s dancing feet, it’s only a matter of when – not if.

As for Cahill himself, speaking after his weekend Palace smash and grab, he had this to say:

“It’s very satisfying for me to get into double figures. I
suppose that my main objective when I first signed here was just to be
part of the squad, and when I got my chance, I wanted to take it. As a
footballer, I have always been told not to walk off the pitch with any
regrets and I don’t think I ever have.”

One Everton fans’ poll puts his Player of the Year vote at an amazing
63% with keeper Nigel Martyn trailing in second place at only 15%.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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