It is a highly controversial debate amongst many Evertonians. Does Tim Cahill still warrant a starting spot in Everton’s first eleven?
If you are going to base it on goals alone, then the answer would of course be, no he doesn’t. With the Australian not scoring in 32 competitive games, last netting at Manchester City in December 2010 with his customary goal in front of the North Stand.
When Cahill first arrived at Goodison Park in 2004 for 1.5 million pounds from Millwall, he played as an attacking midfielder. His late runs into the box made him a nightmare for defenders, not only because of exceptional leap but because of the timing of the runs and the superb movement. In his first season for The Toffees Cahill netted 12 times in all competitions with his goal against Newcastle United securing Champions League football for Everton for the first time.
As Cahill’s career has progressed, he has become more of a centre forward. Holding up the ball laying it off to the midfielders, rather than being the midfielder joining the attack. This has led to many fans criticising Cahill, some believing he doesn’t deserve a place in the starting eleven because he isn’t a natural centre forward and it does sometimes show, his lack of vision and goal poachers instinct is visible and incredibly frustrating for the Goodison faithful.
However, Tim Cahill works harder than any other Everton player, he shows commitment. Fans of any club appreciate commitment, and from Cahill you get nothing short of 100 percent, week in week out. His loyalty to the club is unquestionable, not forgetting his handy knack of scoring in Merseyside derbies. He is Everton’s leading post war Merseyside Derby goalscorer, second only the legendary Dixie Dean in the all-time list against their bitter rivals.
But the 32 year old Cahill can at times be a nightmare for centre halves, putting himself about and for a man of just 5ft 10in he is exceptional in the air. He creates goals, with his constant hard work. But the question still remains, does he deserve a place in the starting eleven?
For me, Cahill has more use as an impact substitute. He can come on with twenty minutes to go and make a nuisance of himself, giving the tired defenders a tough time. He has shown that as a substitute he can have a massive influence on the outcome of games. Take the Blackpool game last season for example, Cahill came on to the pitch with the score at 3-2 to Blackpool, he instantly won Everton a corner from which the equalised. Today at Fulham, Cahill comes on at 1-1, he sets Jack Rodwell up to complete a 3-1 victory. Cahill as a substitute can be lethal. I think his days of been an Everton regular are unfortunately behind him.