Where to slot Tim in the booming Socceroos

by Ben Somerford on Oct 13, 2011

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He's arguably Australia's finest player right now but the Socceroos seem to be getting by okay without him lately. In fact, Brett Holman and Josh Kennedy seem to have struck up quite the partnership in attack, leaving Cahill wondering where he fits in.

Okay, the opposition weren't great on Tuesday night as Australia swept to a convincing 3-0 win over Oman. But once again, there were positive signs from the Kennedy-Holman combination.

And on the evidence of last month's unconvincing 2-1 win over Thailand where Osieck used Cahill alongside Kennedy, there's every reason to persist with the current front pairing.

The Kennedy-Cahill combination did not work.

Both players have similar games, based on their aerial ability. Too often they went for the same ball. Too often it broke down in attack.

Of course, we shouldn't forget it was just one game. But it does deserve serious consideration. Can the duo play together in attack?

The obvious solution when Cahill is fit again, is for him to play in his normal midfield role. However with Osieck preferring two holding midfield types, along with two wide players, maybe there isn't a position available for the Everton man who has been playing up front for his club this term.

You fancy, given the way Australia's qualification campaign has gone so far, Osieck will get a chance to experiment.

Another point which shouldn't be forgotten was when Cahill scored those two famous goals against Japan at the 2006 World Cup he was actually playing as a substitute. He's come on as a footballer a lot since then, but his value off the bench would be huge.

Then again, this is Tim Cahill we're talking about. He surely can't be relegated to being an impact player for Australia.

Perhaps when Harry Kewell is fit again for the Socceroos, the pair could be deployed in attack, like they were at the Asian Cup.

However, despite Australia's success in reaching the final in Qatar, there didn't seem to be same kind of fluency in Cahill and Kewell's partnership in comparison in Kennedy and Holman's current one.

Perhaps it simply appears that way given the continual development of the Socceroos brand of football under Osieck. The Australia team certainly has evolved in the past few months and its pleasing to see, with the Socceroos stringing together numerous passes, with patient build-up play on Tuesday night.

Holman's energy and tireless nature make him an unpredictable asset for Australia in attack, while Kennedy seems to be every Asian defender's nightmare, as stereotypical as that sounds.

Moving ahead and looking at Australia taking on stronger opposition there is an argument a player like Cahill would be a required starter. Kennedy has never totally convinced outside of Asia.

For now, though, it's not a bad headache for Osieck to have. And with opportunities to experiment to come, it's not the worst timing either.