Ahead of his move to New York Red Bulls, I think it’s fair to say that Premier League defenders and corner flags alike will be glad to see the back of Tim Cahill.
Signed from Milwall in 2004 for a mere £1.5m, the Aussie has gone on to become one of the most prolific goalscoring midfielders of the Premier League era and an Everton hero in the process. Cahill is a symbol for everything that has been positive at Everton under David Moyes. Determination, character, class and passion are just a few of the traits that have endeared him to the Everton faithful (as well as a few goals against Liverpool) and traits that have become synonymous with The Toffee’s in the last decade. He has been nothing short of a warrior on the pitch for the Blues.
Whilst Cahill’s position in Everton folklore is undisputed, there are many fans who will agree with myself that now is the right time for him to explore pastures new. For the past eighteen months, Cahill has not been at his recognizable best. His return of 3 goals last campaign was his worst since joining the club. With age beginning to catch up to him (he is approaching his 33rd birthday) and the development of Nikica Jelavic’s and Marouane Fellaini’s partnership up front, Cahill was overlooked towards the latter part of the season, whereas in the past Moyes would scarcely leave the Aussie out of the first eleven.
As one of the clubs biggest earners, it would seem sensible to allow Cahill to move on and free up some wages for an already cash-strapped Everton, with him still maintaining his hero status amongst the fans. Support has flooded in for Cahill since the move was announced, with well wishes and thanks from Toffee’s all over the planet.
I can’t help but feel that Everton are on the cusp of a new era with the recent comings and goings in the side. It feels particularly peculiar to be going into a season without Tim Cahill or Mikel Arteta — two players who provided a cumulative fifteen years of their careers to supplying the bedrock for an Everton side that have gone from strength to strength. It begs the question as to whether or not anyone on the current playing staff is fit to fill the shoes of the two departed heroes?
In Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley however, Everton have two have two young midfielders amongst their ranks who may well believe they are capable of doing so. Rodwell was tipped for great things when he burst onto the scene as a seventeen year old and has had his development stinted somewhat due to some bad luck with injuries. After a promising start to last season in which he picked up his first England cap, a controversial red card in the Merseyside Derby and further bad luck with injuries scuppered his development once more.
Barkley, like Rodwell also made an impression as a seventeen year old at the beginning of the last campaign. Now eighteen, Barkley will be looking to add to the glimpses of quality he showed last season, especially as David Moyes has eluded to handing him a more significant role in the squad for the upcoming campaign. Barkley has already been lauded in the media by the likes of Fabio Capello and Everton are hopeful he reach the same heights as a certain Mr Rooney, such is the players potential.
It is a big season for the two young midfielders and with both players being local lads the fans should have no problem taking to them if they put the graft in on the pitch. If any further inspiration is needed, then they should look no further than their departing teammate Tim Cahill, who will be coming to a corner flag near YOU across the pond.
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