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Tim Cahill is Everton's pocket assassin!
Published : 22 Dec 2010 00:42:57
Bill Kenwright recounts many stories about players he has signed for Everton but the one he tells about Tim Cahill is a personal favourite. It goes like this. Back in the spring of 2002, David Moyes was settling into his role as manager at Goodison Park and had identified a central defender was required; one of the players he was following was Darren Purse, then of Birmingham City. Eager to see what Purse could do in a high-pressure game, Moyes took his chairman to St Andrew'sto watch Birmingham play Millwall in the Championship play-off semi-final but his attention kept turning to the bundle of energy causing havoc here, there and everywhere. What a Christmas present: Cahill and Tim Howard celebrate victory at Manchester City Martin Keown: Everton star Tim Cahill is small, explosive and full of aggression'I remember David leaning over to me and saying, 'Bill, look at the wee black-haired boy who is running from box to box',' Kenwright recalled. 'I then spent the next hour watching Tim Cahill. He was just mesmeric.' Two years and countless spying assignments later, Cahill became an Everton player but little couldMoyes and Kenwright have imagined that the £1.75million they invested in the Australian would reap such spectacular rewards. What Cahill has achieved in six-and-a-half goal-filled years on Merseyside in relation to what he cost gives the 31-year-old a claim to be included in the top 10 most successful transfers in the history of the Barclays Premier League. Everton captain Phil Neville said: 'Tim has got a hunger and fearless determination to go with his will to win and agility. He wants to succeed in everything he does and, when the big games come along, he is the one you can rely on. It makes him stand out from the rest.' How he proved that at Manchester City on Monday. Cahill was immense in Everton's 2-1 win and scored the opener. But just as important was the relentless running that pestered Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany to the point of distraction. Enlarge Tiny Tim heads to the top: Cahill is in superb form for Everton His efforts were typified in one moment during the first half when, having received a gash to the head, he simply ran to the touchline, took a scoop of Vaseline from Everton's physiotherapist and rubbed it on the wound before continuing, anxious not to miss a second. When compared to the theatrics of Mario Balotelli and the eight minutes Pablo Zabaleta needed to have stitches in his cut, from a clash with Cahill, his attitude was a breath of fresh air. But that is the way Cahill is and why he makes things happen for Everton in so many different ways. The goals 64 in 225 appearances say a lot about what he contributes but there is more to his game than just poaching headers. Cahill goes to war with central defenders, grappling and scrapping with them. He might not be themost technically accomplished performer but how City, for example, could do with someone of his ilk. Neville said: 'Before I came to Everton, I've got to admit I didn't know a great deal about him other than he had been sent off for celebrating after he had scored a goal at City (in September 2004). 'I was looking forward to playing with Duncan Ferguson and Mikel Arteta. It was only when I joined intraining I saw Tim was special. He soon became the one player I would tell everyone from outside the clubabout. Now he is the one every team make plans for but nobody can stop.' Roberto Mancini may have fumed about City's defenders falling asleep on Monday, but Kompany and Toure are not the first to be caught napping by Cahill. 'He is a ghost,' Neville said.'Every team will have their pre-game meeting and Tim's name is bound tofigure when they start to discuss set-pieces. Everyone will be drilled,everyone will know what to expect but the amount of times he pops upunmarked is remarkable. 'It's a special knack. Players like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes have it, the abilityto be in the right place at the right time. Tim has got it, too.' Evidenceof that is illustrated by Cahill's haul of nine league goals thisseason but his hopes of contending for the Golden Boot at the end ofthe campaign will be dashed due to his commitments inthe Asia Cup next month. Therepercussions for Everton could be enormous. Moyes has tried to put abrave face on Cahill's absence, urging his team-mates to follow hisexample when he flies out to Qatar on January 2. ButNeville said: 'He is going to be such a massive loss. It's not just hisgoals. It's the infectious personality and the fact he is a leader. Hetrains like he plays and doesn't know any other way of doing things. 'Everything is geared to him being in top form of a weekend, and he looks after himself through theweek to make sure that happens. 'He believes he belongs on the biggest stage and he has shown it time and time again.' Martin Keown: Everton star Tim Cahill is small, explosive and full of aggressionBlow for Everton as defender Phil Jagielka ruled out of busy festive programmeBayern refuse to give up chase for Baines as German plan £9m raid for Everton starEVERTON FC NEWSS FROM ACROSS THE NET Explore more:People: Darren Purse, Paul Scholes, Vincent Kompany, Duncan Ferguson, Phil Neville, David Moyes, Martin Keown, Bill Kenwright, Kolo Toure, Tim Cahill, Roberto Mancini, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard Places: Birmingham, Qatar