National coach Pim Verbeek said Friday he will select fit-again midfielder Tim Cahill for Australia’s home World Cup qualifier against Qatar next month if the Everton star remains injury-free.
Cahill scored the match-winning goal for Everton in his first game back from a six-month lay-off with a broken foot in the English Premier League against Stoke City last weekend.
The Socceroos, who downed Uzbekistan 1-0 in their opening Asian group game in Tashkent on September 10, play Qatar in Brisbane on October 15 and Verbeek said he will pick the influential midfielder if he remains injury-free.
“I’m very pleased with Tim,” Verbeek told reporters here Friday.
“He played for 80 minutes last Saturday so let’s hope that he will stay fit in the coming weeks.
“After five months not playing and scoring such an important goal we know how important he can be for us, so hopefully he will remain fit.
“And if he’s fit, for sure I will select him for the Qatar game.”
Verbeek also expects Blackburn Rovers’ holding midfielder Vince Grella to recover from a calf injury to bolster his selection options.
The Dutchman said he also liked what he saw of Harry Kewell since his relocation to Turkish heavyweights Galatasaray from Liverpool.
“I was there a few weeks ago, spoke with him, saw him play, saw the environment that he is living in at the moment – he looks very happy,” he said.
But while Verbeek’s selection options appear to be expanding, 2006 World Cup skipper and striker Mark Viduka is struggling to recover from an Achilles tendon injury.
“It doesn’t look good at all,” Verbeek said. “But when I spoke to him last April he was very confident of being a member of the Socceroos.
“He said his contract will finish in 2010, and there’s nothing better than finishing at a World Cup.
“I am very pleased with my strikers, but we don’t have a player with the same special qualities like Viduka.”