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"I won't be stopping": Cahill intent on fourth World Cup campaign

Soccer

Enduring Socceroos striker Tim Cahill has no plans to hang up the boots any time soon as he looks to lead a new Australian strikeforce to Russia.

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The all-time Socceroos leading goalscorer is closing in on 100 caps, 50 goals, and a fourth World Cup appearance should Australia navigate their passage to the 2018 tournament.

That journey continues on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning Australian time) against United Arab Emirates.

Cahill was an unused substitute in Australia’s first-up win over Iraq last week in Perth, with 25-year-olds Tomi Juric and Mathew Leckie leading the lines.

But at 36, and with a new playing deal with A-League club Melbourne City in his pocket, Cahill is in no mood to contemplate his footballing mortality.

Instead, he’s taking inspiration from David Beckham’s words of advice on Instagram towards ageing England captain Wayne Rooney.

“It was, ‘play as long as possible, be proud to wear the jersey and don’t just give it up because of people’s perceptions’,” he said.

“We all dream about it in any sport, to play for your country.

“You get the opportunity to play in big tournaments, (so) don’t stop.

“Stop because it’s a family decision or it’s too hard mentally, that’s fair enough.

“But I won’t be stopping.

“I pretty much play and train every day and I want to keep doing it.”

Cahill’s playing future appeared to be settled by his agreement to return to the A-League.

The fan favourite agreed a three-year deal with Melbourne City – two years as a player and one as a coach – that would set him up for a potential swansong at the 2018 World Cup.

Saying “the biggest thing is winning the mental battle,” Cahill’s enthusiasm puts that contract into question and he feels revived by the camaraderie among Socceroo attackers.

“There’s no rivals, definitely no rivalry,” he said.

“Players like Apo (Giannou) and Juric, they’re only going to get better … there’s plenty of goals there for them.

“And if not, Lecks, Krusey (Robbie Kruse), (Tom) Rogic, Mass (Luongo), it’s pretty frightening the combinations we can play.”

Cahill said he felt effective even from the bench against Iraq.

“I know I hold a big threat. I didn’t even get on the park the other night but the question kept being asked from the bench, ‘Is he coming on?'”, he said.

“It’s a good thing to have and I want to hold that value.”

-AAP

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