CAHILL READY TO LIVE DREAM
Tim Cahill came through his first full training session since April over the weekend as he seeks to confirm his full recovery from injury ahead of Australia's World Cup kick off in a fortnight.
The Everton midfielder sustained his knee ligament injury in the goalless draw against Birmingham in April, putting his place in the World Cup under threat.
But Cahill has worked around the clock to ensure he completes his rehabilitation ahead of schedule.
And his hard work was rewarded at the weekend as he joined a full training session with the Socceroos following their arrival at their Holland training camp.
But Cahill remains focused, insisting he still has a lot of work to do ahead of Australia's World Cup kick-off against Japan in Kaiserlautern on June 12.
Cahill said: "I'm not going to count my chickens and it is still a race against time to get fully fit but it is good to be back. I'm feeling good."
Cahill came through a full-pace in-house practice match unscathed on Sunday. The Aussie insists his impressive recovery is the result of the close working relationship forged between the medical teams from Everton and Australia.
He adds: "It is all sweet and there are no problems with Everton. Everyone is communicating well and that is the way that we have to keep it. I love playing for my club and I love playing for my country. As far as I'm concerned, it's all working perfectly. [Australia's physiotherapist] Les Gellis has been to Everton a lot and the Everton staff have been brilliant."
Now with the chance to play in a World Cup an increasing likely prospect for Tim, he has had chance to reflect on the footballing journey he has taken through his life to reach this destination.
He added: "My story really is a fairytale. We have a big family back home and I had to wear tennis shoes when I played at school.
"The amount of times my parents took me and my two brothers to training with different teams and sacrificed the weekends . . . it's not a cheap thing for parents either with boots, registrations, and the steak sandwiches at the game. Parents only earn so much a week. But they never talked about the money. They were always only interested in how I was playing.
"I could score two or three goals in a game but it was like, 'Why didn't you score five?' I'd get in the back of the van and my mum would have her sandal off her foot and give me a slap on the back of the head while the old man was having a giggle in the front.
"I always think about what they did for me and I'm really pleased to give things back. Not just materialistic things but things like being in the FA Cup final, playing at Wembley, playing for Everton. Each week I play in front of 40,000 people and they watch it in Australia. Just scoring is better then sending a cheque home. That is the biggest reward."
Cahill's mother is Samoan and it is that connection which explains why injury is not the only obstacle Cahill has had to overcome on his journey to the finals.
He made his debut for Western Samoa at the age of 14. Lobbying of Fifa by his family and the Australian federation opened a window for Cahill to play for the country of his birth. After his first game for Australia against South Africa in London in 2004 he shed tears.
"When I was 14, playing for Western Samoa was the biggest moment of my life. "But how could they not let me play for the country that was closest to my heart? How could they not let me play on the world stage and show what I could do? Lucky for me, common sense saw a rule change. It was a difficult time but it's all sweet now. I'm really happy to be part of Australia."
And, no doubt, Australia are happy he is a part of the squad and looking good ahead of the finals in Germany.