Tim Cahill once told reporters he didn’t need the captain’s armband to lead.
He has proven that with the New York Red Bulls, and will be forced to do the same in the yellow and green of the Socceroos.
Once considered a shoo-in to take up the armband after Lucas Neill was excluded from Australia’s World Cup roster, Head Coach Ange Postecoglou threw everyone for a loop with the naming of Crystal Palace’s Mile Jedinak as the team’s new skipper.
“Mile Jedinak will captain our National Team at the 2014 World Cup,” Postecoglou told reporters. “It is a privileged position and an accolade he richly deserves after the incredible job he has done at Crystal Palace in the toughest club competition in world football – the English Premier League.
“Mile Jedinak embodies everything that is great about Australian football and Australia as a nation. He has risen to the top of world football and done it the hard way from humble beginnings where he has battled and believed in himself to overcome the odds with an enormous work ethic and passion for what he does.
“I have no doubt he will lead the team with distinction in Brazil.”
Cahill wasn’t left out in the cold. Both the Red Bulls midfielder and Mark Bresciano will play vice-captains for the tournament. As for Jedinak, it was a fitting honor for the Palace midfielder after a standout season in the Premiership. The trio represent the best of Australia, both past and present.
“We will have two of our greatest ever football players in Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano giving the team what I believe is strong leadership,” Postecoglou explains. “Mile will be our captain but all three players will share the onus of leading this group to the World Cup where we will be representing the people of Australia with enormous pride and drive. We are going to Brazil to do all 23 million Australians proud.”
While many would look at the coach’s decision as a slight, Cahill responded with class, offering words of encouragement and support for Jedinak and appreciation for his role in the team.
“So proud to be a part of this leadership group with Mile Captain and Me and Mark Vice Captains for Australia in Brazil 2014 World Cup,” he said via Instagram. “As a kid, it was just a Dream to be a professional and now to have this massive honor to be a part of a third World Cup and to be given this role is priceless.
“Our focus, commitment, attitude, leadership, professionalism and our spirit will be the driving force moving forward.”