Postecoglou backs Cahill's China move

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has backed Tim Cahill’s move to China after watching the superstar’s debut for Shanghai Shenhua late on Sunday night.

Postecoglou was scouting Australian talent during all hours ahead of Wednesday’s squad announcement for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and FYR Macedonia.

The Australia boss was impressed by Cahill’s Chinese debut on Sunday night and particularly enthused by the 35-year-old’s energy.

Cahill’s move to Shanghai last month had initially raised eyebrows – some hoping he would return to Australia, while others questioned the standard of the league.

Postecoglou, however, said he was content with Sydney-born Cahill’s decision to swap New York for Shanghai.

“It seems like he’s settled in there and is very excited by it,” Postecoglou said during a teleconference on Wednesday.

“From my point of view as long as the player is happy and he’s happy in the environment, then it’s a good decision for them.

“It certainly looks that way for Tim.”

Cahill’s debut saw his new club thrash city rivals Shanghai Shenxin 6-2, with the Australian playing 75 minutes.

The former Everton and New York Red Bulls man failed to get on the score sheet, but claimed an assist for his side’s second strike, an own goal.

Postecoglou is confident it won’t take long for Cahill to start finding the back of the net in the Chinese Super League.

“He worked hard as he always does,” Postecoglou said. “He didn’t get a goal, but I’m sure he’ll score goals in that league.

“The most important thing for me was the time he was on the pitch – he looked very healthy and energetic.

“He was his typical energetic self. It seems like he’s settled in very quickly. You can tell he wants to take a leading role in their side.”

Postecoglou also said Cahill would likely be one of the first players in the squad to make teenage newcomer Chris Ikonomidis feel at home when the group gets together ahead of the friendlies.

Ikonomidis, who plays for Lazio’s reserves, admitted barely two years ago he was lining up to get Cahill’s signature, so playing alongside him, let alone meeting him, may feel intimidating.

“Timmy is pretty good when they come to camp, he looks after the younger ones,” Postecoglou said.

“Sometimes these young players come in and can be star struck, but if we can get that out Chris’ system in this camp, then down the track if he’s selected he’ll feel more comfortable in this environment.

“The group of players we’ve got, they’ve had a lot of practice welcoming new players, so it’s a good induction program we’ve got.”