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PHIL JAGIELKA insists Everton’s players must rise to the challenge of playing without Tim Cahill next season.
The England defender was sad to see Cahill depart Merseyside, after the 32-year-old Aussie completed a move to New York Red Bulls on a three-and-a-half year contract yesterday.
Jagielka, 29, acknowledges that the Toffees will miss his former team-mate’s big-game impact, and he hopes someone else can step into Cahill’s shoes.
He said: “Hopefully we’ll have someone else to step up to the plate. We will miss him on and off the pitch. He came up with big performances in the most important games. He’s got the best record since the war in the derbies and I think Liverpool will be glad to see the back of him.
“He’ll definitely be missed. He’s been around here eight years and had some fantastic moments for the club.
“He was a quite close friend of mine, we spent a bit of time off the pitch doing stuff, but I’m sure we will see him again anyway.”
Jagielka, who is back in training after being given extra rest following his stint at the European Championships earlier this summer, was quick to praise Cahill’s commitment.
“You look back at the video clip of his goals, and while you might forget some of them, it really brings a smile to your face to watch them again,” he added.
“He put his heart and soul into the club and he’s now got a fantastic move to the MLS and a great team in the Red Bulls. Along with his wife and kids it should be a nice place to live.”
Jagielka was joined back at Finch Farm this week by Leighton Baines, who spent the summer alongside him with the England squad in Poland and Ukraine.
And Baines was equally disappointed to see Cahill leave. He said: “He’s going to go down as a bit of a legend really and rightly so,
“He’s been a great servant to the Club and had some massive moments over the years.
“Not only that but I think the fans took to him because he’d give you everything he’d got when you were on the pitch.
“So it’s sad to see Tim go but I think he can count on everyone’s best wishes.
“I’m sure he’s going to enjoy it out there. It’s great for him, a new adventure for Tim and his family and I’m sure it will be something he’ll relish.”
Cahill is only waiting on a Visa before he is able to start playing for his new club, but his former chairman Bill Kenwright admits it was hard to let him leave in a £1m deal.
“We accepted this offer for Tim with a heavy heart but it is a great way for him to end his Everton career,” he said.
“The transfer salutes Tim's unswerving commitment to our cause over the last eight years and also respects his desire never to play against Everton.
“On a personal level, I will miss the first ever player that David and I went to see together, and the wide-eyed bundle of energy that walked into my office a short time later and told me that Everton was his destiny. It was. And he now embarks on a new stage of his career with our heartfelt thanks, and of course our real best wishes for his future. I can guarantee New York Red Bulls will have many, many admirers cheering them on from across the Ocean. All wearing the Blue of Everton. Thank you Tim.”
TIM Cahill was moved to tears on the day he signed for Everton, according to former Blues physio Mick ‘Baz’ Rathbone. The Australian international underwent a gruelling medical when he signed for the Toffees from Milwall in 2004, and Rathbone was surprised by quite how much becoming an Everton player meant to him.
Cahill had chased his dream of becoming a player and flown to England from his native Australia to win a contract with Milwall in 1997.
He said: “My first experience of Tim was doing his medical and spending the day with him. He was very emotional and even had tears in his eyes when it went through.
“I’m as cynical as anyone about modern footballers but he meant it.
“He had broken his foot and done a cruciate at Milwall so it was an arduous medical. I even missed my first and only game as head of medicine at Everton because we were still working with Tim.
“In this era when football is a business I never think Tim lost that magic of being like a kid and loving being at Everton. Every day he brought that into the training ground.
“I got a chance to spend time with him twice in his home city of Sydney after he had suffered a broken foot while at Everton, and he treated me brilliantly.
“He was the type to go out of his way for you and made me feel included and part of his family in Australia. He got me a lovely Christmas present one year from Harrods - he is a generous guy.”
Rathbone believes Cahill’s willingness to put his body on the line for the Blues proved to be infectious in the Goodison dressing room.
“We ended up having a lot of players in that mould - the type who would play through injuries,” he says. “That’s partly thanks to the manager and what he expects and cajoles from his players.
“There was always a great deal of detail and scrutiny of the personality of players David brought in and Tim ticked every box in that regard. It’s no wonder he was a success.
“I was the luckiest man in the world to work at Everton and Tim made it extra special for me.
“He even told someone once that the best book he’s ever read was mine!”
Mick’s book ‘The Smell of Football - Candid reflections on 25 years as a player, manager and Premier League physio’ was a best-seller when it was released last year.
FOR EIGHT years Tim Cahill has been a prolific mainstay of David Moyes’ attacking formations for Everton.
Whether as a conventional midfielder, or more frequently a withdrawn striker in a 4-5-1 formation, the Australian international has been one of the first names on the team-sheet.
Cahill’s combative, all-action, goal-grabbing style was worth persevering with, regardless of his perceived limitations in other areas.
However last season that pneumatic approach, coupled with long flights to play for the Socceroos and subsequent injuries, appeared to have taken their toll on a player who turns 33 in December.
Indeed a Premier League performer renowned for his ability to score vital goals went the entirety of 2011 without hitting the back of the net, and only managed three strikes in 41 appearances.
Even the once unthinkable started to occur – a match-fit Cahill was, on occasion, left out of Moyes’ starting XI.
It may have surprised some observers, but Moyes’ decision to allow Cahill to leave for New York last week smacks of the Scot’s usual pragmatism.
But how will the Blues adjust tactically to life without Cahill?
Goodison hero Kevin Ratcliffe predicts it a transitional phase as Moyes’ men learn to plug the gaps left by the Aussie’s absence.
“People have said that Everton’s traditional 4-5-1, or 4-4-1-1 set-up has been based around Cahill, because he’s been such an effective player over the seasons,” says the member of Howard Kendall’s Eighties golden generation.
“He was always better in a role between the midfield and the attack, joining in behind a striker and arriving late into the penalty area when he’d score most of his trademark headers.
“He did play as an out-and-out striker on his own from time to time when Everton were bereft of options, but as much as he gave 110% in the role, it was never ideally suited to him.
“I’m not sure we will see a big change in formation. I think Moyes will stick to 4-5-1 but just having different personnel behind the striker will maybe alter the way they play.”
“It’s a big opportunity for Steven Naismith to seize the bull by the horns and establish himself quickly in the team,” says Ratcliffe, of the Scotland forward who joined the Blues from the Rangers Newco at the start of July.
“Obviously Naismith already knows Nikica Jelavic and the pair of them have a good rapport from their days at Ibrox.
“If you speak to people who watched them play together in Scotland, they’ll tell you that they complemented each other.
“But Naismith is a different style of player to Tim. He won't arrive late and score you loads of headers and he perhaps won't be a threat from set-pieces as much.
“Saying that, he has a lot to his own game and his movement and intelligence are highly rated so he might enable the Blues to move the ball quicker.”
Ratcliffe believes Cahill’s departure could also offer opportunities to some of Everton’s younger players.
“We’ve seen that Marouane Fellaini is very good playing behind the striker,” he says. “He did a great job there when Everton drew with Manchester United at Old Trafford last season.
“Then there’s Ross Barkley who could revel in a free role behind a striker one day.
“But you’ve got Victor Anichebe as well. Let’s face it, if Everton play with one up front next season it’s going to be Jelavic. The impact he had since arriving in January was phenomenal, so it'd be hard for Victor to be the most advanced attacker, but he’s shown versatility and has physical presence too. At the age of 24 he needs to get into the team, he’s said it himself.
“He’ll be aiming to play more regularly and building on his goal return. He got a few important ones last season but he needs to score more throughout the course of an entire campaign and maybe he’ll be ready to step-up now.”
“It’s important not to under-estimate what Cahill contributed defensively,” says Rats. “They’ll miss the defensive work he did in his own penalty area, he was always clearing the ball from corners and free-kicks.
“Changes happen in football though and you have got to get on with it. When you've got a manager as well organised and prepared as David Moyes he’ll address all of these areas. There’s no reason why Fellaini can’t take over from Tim here and help mop up with his height when the opposition, for example Stoke, are lumping long balls into the area and you’re having to exert a lot of energy defending away from home.”
“Tim was a big character in the dressing room. He was a big part of the team spirit they have at Goodison and always brought the lads together, you can see the way he helped Jelavic settle in and was liked by the young lads and the older first team pros.
“But every team loses big personalities and sometimes it encourages others to step forward. Maybe young lads who felt in Tim’s shadow can fill his boots. The old guard has really helped Everton weather some tough times, but everything changes in football and you need to carry on.”
HE HASN’T had much time to spend his summer like an ordinary 18-year-old. Instead of painting his face and partying in Ibiza, or drinking warm beer at a music festival caked in mud, Ross Barkley – who in so many other ways is a typically down to earth lad from Liverpool – has spent the summer training and playing for England’s U-19s in the European Championships.
However, it could still be the last summer that Barkley is able to do anything at all like a normal teenager, as destiny is calling him loud and clear next season.
One of the interesting talking points in the wake of Tim Cahill’s departure for the Big Apple and a chance to establish himself as a brand to rival Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry in the USA, is how his absence will affect Everton’s remaining players – and for Barkley, it could be a blessing in disguise.
For so long that role behind a striker has belonged to Cahill and Cahill alone.
There was a time when he was probably the first name on David Moyes’ team-sheet and was rarely deployed in any function other than as a withdrawn striker.
But now Barkley might smell an opportunity. Because the immensely gifted Wavertree lad was leaving watching scouts and rival managers open-mouthed yet again with his performances for Noel Blake’s side in Estonia.
He returned to Everton’s pre-season and promptly scored the only goal in their re-arranged friendly win over Dundee United, with a bullet header to hint at yet another string to his bow.
Barkley is a young man on the brink of wonderful things, and after a stop-start opening to his Premier League career, the changing of the old guard this summer should give him the chance to shine in the ensuing campaign.
Crucially he has played plenty of injury-free football since last season, when he started so impressively against QPR on the opening day and then faded away at Ewood Park. David Moyes will hope that extra game-time, and 12 months’ more coaching, will have ironed out the naive kinks in his game and the young man he has nurtured, just like Wayne Rooney, will be ready to follow in the Croxteth boy wonder’s foot-steps.
In a similar way, Jack Rodwell could also sense an opportunity with one less body in the midfield mix. How nice it would be to see both thrive.
The ambition shown by Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls drew Australian midfielder Tim Cahill to sign for the Major League Soccer side.
Cahill left Everton for the MLS, with the move subject to international clearance, where he will play alongside former Premier League players Thierry Henry and Teemu Tainio.
They are currently top of the Eastern Conference and the 32-year-old is desperate to help his side claim what would be their first title.
"I am very happy to start a new chapter of my career with the New York Red Bulls," Cahill told the official website.
"As we have seen over the past few years, MLS has developed into a very competitive league with many talented players.
"I am impressed with what the Red Bulls are trying to accomplish in MLS and within American soccer and I am looking forward to this new challenge. I will do everything I can to help bring New York its first MLS Cup."
His excitement is matched by the club, who believe his achievements in the game will make him a real asset.
"We are absolutely thrilled to bring in a player of Tim's calibre to the Red Bulls," said New York Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Soler.
"He is the technical, physical presence we have been looking to add in our team and he brings a wealth of experience to our club having played in some of the highest levels of international soccer. Tim is a proven leader both on and off the field and we believe that he can help us immediately in our quest to win the MLS Cup this season."
Cahill played 278 times for David Moyes' men and after just eight years at Goodison Park was sad to leave the north west.
"I also want to thank everyone at Everton, from the club to tremendous supporters," he added.
"It has been a privilege to be an Everton player for the past eight years and it was a very difficult decision to leave. I will always support Everton and I wish the club the best of luck in the future."
Toffees chairman Bill Kenwright, meanwhile, has expressed his "heartfelt thanks" to Cahill.
"On a personal level, I will miss the first-ever player that David and I went to see together, and the wide-eyed bundle of energy that walked into my office a short time later and told me that Everton was his destiny," Kenwright said.
"And he now embarks on a new stage of his career with our heartfelt thanks, and of course our real best wishes for his future.
"I can guarantee New York Red Bulls will have many, many admirers cheering them on from across the Ocean. All wearing the Blue of Everton. Thank you Tim."
The transfer represents a good move for Everton also as it gets the 32-year-old, who was one of the club's highest earners on £55,000-a-week, off the wage bill.
That should and should pave the way for the club to step up their efforts to re-sign Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar.
"We accepted this offer for Tim with a heavy heart but it is a great way for him to end his Everton career," Kenwright added on evertonfc.com
"The transfer salutes Tim's unswerving commitment to our cause over the last eight years and also respects his desire never to play against Everton."
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright has expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to Tim Cahill, who is starting a new career in Major League Soccer.
“On a personal level, I will miss the first-ever player that David Moyes and I went to see together, and the wide-eyed bundle of energy that walked into my office a short time later and told me that Everton was his destiny,” said Kenwright.