Tim Cahill is not guaranteed a place in Australia’s squad at a fourth World Cup, coach Bert van Marwijk has warned despite including the veteran in his plans for two warm-up games.
The 38-year-old is his country’s most prolific international scorer with 50 goals, hitting the back of the net at three previous World Cups.
He left the domestic A-League in January to join Championship side Millwall to get more game time, but has barely appeared for the London side, although his cameos have been praised by club boss Neil Harris.
Van Marwijk included him in his squad for friendlies against Norway and Colombia this month, but told reporters Cahill going to Russia was not a given despite his importance to the team in their qualifying campaign.
“He didn’t play a lot (and) it’s important that players have played,” said the Dutchman, who was appointed in late January on a short-term contract that ends after the World Cup.
“But there always are exceptions. He was very important for the national team in the qualification and the playoffs and it’s a very good signal from him that he went to England to play to make his chance for the world championship.”
Van Marwijk said he knew Cahill was considered a talisman for Australia “but it’s not a guarantee for him that I will nominate him for the world championship”.
The Dutchman added that he included him in the squad for the friendlies in Oslo and London as he wanted to “know him, and meet him”.
“I want to see him and then the next two months are very important not only for him, but also for all players to show me that they are fit and they are playing regularly,” he said from the Netherlands.