Socceroos great Tim Cahill likes the look of Garang Kuol

Socceroos great Tim Cahill likes the look of Garang Kuol

  • Football
  • September 21, 2022
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  • 4 minutes read

Socceroos great Tim Cahill has urged teenage sensation Garang Kuol to make the most of the opportunity given to him by national coach Grahan Arnold, believing he could be the wildcard in Australia’s bid to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time since 2006.

The 18-year-old Central Coast Mariners striker, who has been linked with a move to English Premier League club Newcastle, is in the Socceroos’ 31-man squad for the two-game series against New Zealand starting at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

Qatar-based Cahill, a key factor in Australia’s effort to reach the World Cup round of 16 in Germany 16 years ago, senses something special in Kuol

“He’s athletic, he’s quick and he’s confident,” the former Everton star said of Kuol.

“He just has to find those elements within a game to make the difference, because there will be a moment he will get within a game to change it.

“These young players, I’m excited for them, but it’s important that they just absorb everything.”

For Kuol, that means “just playing, no talking and enjoying every aspect of being a professional”.

“Every touch, make sure that it’s good, every experience the same, not being late to any team meetings, being efficient and … really soak in the small part,” Cahill said.

“The small part is everything off the park. On the park is where they’re going to get the most success … but it’s about doing the small things well.

“As you do the small things well, you get the confidence and then things can explode on the pitch. That’s what I’ve built my career on.”

Cahill, who is in Brisbane for Thursday night’s match, challenged the Socceroos to shock the football word by finishing in the top two of a World Cup group which includes reigning world champions France, Denmark and Tunisia.

“The biggest thing is now for the players to embrace it because this is it; this is the biggest show on Earth,” Cahill said.

“For Australia, we’re not new to Qatar. We’ve played there many times, we’re used to the facilities, the training camps, and also the important part of qualifying for this World Cup – we’re accustomed to it.

“Now it’s about showing up, showing how we can be competitive and also showing we can grow on the levels from the past and this will come down to performance.

“Hopefully this is a tournament in which we can try to do even better than what we did in 2006, when we reached the round of 16.”

Cahill said fitness, which played a huge role in Australia’s memorable 2006 campaign under Guus Hiddink, would again be crucial to the Socceroos’ hopes in Qatar.

“That’s what Guus focused on – the physical output and the high intensity,” he said.

“There was also the shape – how we were as a team and how we played in possession and out of possession.

“For me, it will come down to our preparations and how we approach each game.”

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