SYDNEY: Veteran Tim Cahill says he left Australia to rejoin Millwall to ensure he gets to a fourth World Cup, and is excited by the appointment of Bert van Marwijk to lead the national team.
The 38-year-old quit Melbourne City in December after rarely featuring in the starting line-up since joining the A-League side in 2016, despite playing a key role in helping Australia qualify for Russia 2018.
According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph he was so desperate to again challenge himself at the top level that he paid more than Aus$500,000 (US$400,000) to get out of his Melbourne contract.
"The easy option was to stay at Melbourne City and just be a passenger, but that’s not my style," Cahill, Australia's most prolific international scorer with 50 goals, told the newspaper Thursday.
"People questioned my decision -- there aren’t many 38-year-olds who have gone back to the top leagues, especially after going home to the A-League.
"But I can’t teach kids to follow their dreams and break barriers if I pick the easy option."
Cahill first debuted for Millwall in 1998, making more than 250 appearances before joining Everton in 2004. He later had stints with the New York Red Bulls, Shanghai Shenhua and Hangzhou Greentown.
He said he was still ambitious, despite his age.
"If players want to go to the World Cup or play at the highest level, you have to test yourself," he said.
Cahill has scored in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) and is looking forward to working with Dutchman van Marwijk and his assistant Mark van Bommel, who were appointed last month.
"I can only respect that they’re taking on a massive job in helping us do something special at the World Cup," he said.
"I think their portfolio is amazing and as a country we should embrace that coaches of their calibre are coming for the ride to do something special.
"Their experience is massive for us and, being a younger team, I think the lads are going to learn a lot."