DAVID MOYES has urged Tim Cahill to pick and choose his Australian international commitments – in order to avoid being burned out by friendly fire.
The Everton talisman reiterated his desire this week to play in his third World Cup tournament in Brazil in 2014, when he will be 34.
But Moyes believes that his high intensity Australian needs to start listening to his body in order to prolong his playing career at the highest level.
“Should Tim consider not playing in any more friendlies for Australia? I think so, but I would never tell someone not to play for their national team,” said Moyes. “But if they played in all the games, it would affect their selection for their club.
“Tim needs to look after himself. But Tim is too big a name in Australia not to play for them at all, I want him to keep playing for them. But Tim maybe needs to consider if he should miss playing in the majority of the friendlies for his country.
“He doesn’t owe us the break, he owes himself it. If he wants to continue playing at the level he has over the years, then he has to start considering how he can get the best for himself. I don’t want him to stop playing for Australia.
“But having gone to the World Cup last year and then played in the Asian Cup, it’s probably been too much for him.”
Cahill was riding high in the Premier League’s goal-scoring charts when he left for the Asian Cup on January 1.
He picked up an injury during that tournament, hasn’t scored since his return and has been forced to spend time on the sidelines rehabilitating.
Moyes added: “He had the injury at the Asian Cup and hasn’t been fit since he came back. He probably played in some games he shouldn’t have over there. He’s tried to play a few games but his foot hasn’t been quite right. He had it last summer and the year before as well.
“He could be back on Saturday but it could be he isn’t back for a while either. It’s an injury that can clear up quickly. It isn’t one you can put a length of time on.
“He’s missing the games as he wants to give himself every chance to be fit for next season.
“Tim is 31 now. When you get to that age, you actually have to train more to keep yourself fitter. But you have to rest and recuperate as much as you can as well.
“If you look at the main clubs, they try and pull their older players out of the firing line for a few weeks here and there. We’ve given Tim time off and tried to give him a holiday here and there, we’ve tried to help him recharge his batteries. But the injury is making it difficult for him.”
Cahill has taken his manager’s words on board. Australian football officials are hopeful of scheduling friendlies against Serbia and New Zealand in June, but Cahill has already hinted he will take no part in the fixtures.
“I’ve played seven years (with) no rest in the summer, probably more,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve got a foot problem but I’m buzzing. I love football and I love playing for my country.
“But also I think common sense has to prevail. I missed the Germany game and I’ll probably miss the next couple of games because they’re friendlies.
“Aat the moment now my main focal point is the Premier League and obviously doing well for my club.”
Cahill’s debut for Everton after signing from Millwall in 2004 was delayed by his involvement in the Olympic Games in Athens.
The following summer Australia were involved in the Confederations Cup and Cahill has also been to two World Cups and Asian Cup competitions.
But Cahill is determined to make it to the 2014 Brazil finals should the Socceroos qualify – although he admits he hopes to be fighting for his place against an improving younger generation of Australian footballers.
“Everyone knows me already – if I’m fit then I’m there. End of (story),” he added. “I never say no to my country. It’s one of those questions that I get asked every year, after every Australia game. It’s simple – if I’m fit and I’m selected then I’m there.
“Hopefully by that time there’ll be some great youngsters that are pushing us out of the team and going on and doing greater things.
“But if I’m selected then I’ll 100% be there.”