Cahill makes Asian Cup roster, eyes set on World Cup 2018

IMAGE, FOOTBALL FEDERATION AUSTRALIA

Coming off of arguably his most successful year with the Australian National Team, Socceroos’ icon Tim Cahill sees no reason to call it an international career. In fact, he will look to extend that good fortune into the new year — and beyond.

Australian boss Ange Postecoglou has finalized his Asian Cup roster, headlining his selections with the New York Red Bulls midfielder. This year’s tournament holds special meaning to the Socceroos program as Australia gets set to host the regional event. And in Cahill’s case, it is also the culmination of a year-long wait to lead his country as the face of the team.

“Timmy’s a very important part of what we’re doing and what we’re building, not just on the field but off the field too,” Postecoglou said in his Asian Cup press conference. “He’s been a fantastic leader for this young group in the last 12 months.”

Seven changes have been made from the team’s World Cup roster, but the veteran leadership stays the same, with Cahill joining Mark Bresciano and Mile Jedinak at the helm of this side.

Cahill, who scored 10 goals through 19 matches in 2014, also has an eye beyond this Cup tournament. While his club career at Red Bull remains uncertain, the now 35-year-old striker has aspirations for a fourth World Cup.

“The future’s bright,” Cahill told members of Australian media. “I’ve got another year left on my New York Red Bulls contract. The main feeling for me is every time I’m at a club, I like to be there for a long time.

“I was 35 this month and my weight hasn’t changed, my fat hasn’t changed in 18 years,” he continued. “Physically, I feel great. Mentally, I’m always switched on.”

Cahill said his preservation plan, which began with a switch to MLS in 2012, will continue as he eschews offers from the Premiership in favor of his international career.

“To be totally honest, I could have gone back to the Premier League on loan after the World Cup and I decided to stay with Red Bulls for the remainder of the season and still [have] options to go back to the Premier League if it’s the right one for me – and then deciding what’s best for international football afterwards as well,” he said. “So when you put everything into one, the decision I make will be a methodical one, like I’ve always made it. It will take a month or so but, when it does, I think people will be quietly impressed with what I’m trying to do.”

He will be 38-years-old come the 2018 World Cup.

Here is the 23-man roster for Australia’s Asian Cup side:

Australia squad for Asian Cup

Terry Antonis (Sydney FC/AUS), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa/QAT), Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix/NZL), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls/USA), Jason Davidson (West Brom/ENG), Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moskva/RUS), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United/AUS), Chris Herd (Aston Villa/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace/ENG), Tomi Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt/GER), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town/ENG), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht/NED), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge/BEL), Trent Sainsbury (Zwolle/NED), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), James Troisi (Zulte Waregem/BEL), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai/KOR)