Tim Cahill says the suggestion he is in line to replace under-fire Lucas Neill as Socceroos captain is pure speculation, insisting he hasn’t spoken to new coach Ange Postecoglou about the role.
The star attacker arrived in Sydney on Thursday to join Postecoglou’s 22-man squad in camp ahead of next week’s friendly against Costa Rica.
Cahill was due to arrive earlier in the week, but was delayed because of exit medical checks for his US club New York Red Bulls, who were eliminated from the Major League Soccer playoffs last week.
The 33-year-old said he had spoken to Postecoglou a “few times” while in New York, but their conversations were purely about football – and not the captaincy.
Current skipper Neill faced calls to retire after struggling in the 6-0 losses to both Brazil and France, which led to former coach Holger Osieck’s sacking, but he has vowed to fight on to next year’s World Cup and hopes to keep the leadership.
Cahill didn’t shy away from admitting he’d love to lead his country, but conceded he faced tough competition from a number of teammates for the role – including Neill, Mark Bresciano and Mile Jedinak.
“It’s every kid’s dream to be captain of your country,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate to share the captaincy this year with Thierry Henry (for the Red Bulls) and it’s a massive privilege and honour. But for your country, it’s on a different level.
“There’s so many great candidates.
“Who says that Lucas is not going to keep it? He’s been a great ambassador for the sport and the country, but also we have Bresciano and Jedinak and the youngsters coming through as well that can lead.
“But I suppose, overall, we’ve got to look at the bigger picture – whether it’s sharing the captain’s armband or just concentrating on playing football.
“I don’t want to put too much emphasis on it, it’s not something I’ve spoken about at all.
“I’ve pretty much walked into a whirlwind where it’s all speculation still at the moment.
“For me, I’ve never needed an armband to be a captain.
“I think Lucas, or any other player, knows that I’ve supported every captain that I’ve ever played under.
“I have the experience to guide the youngsters regardless.”
Cahill admitted consistent game time was a concern for Neill, especially since his move to Japanese club Omiya Ardija.
“But I think for him, he wants some consistency in staying at one club or finding a comfortable momentum where he can stay playing football for a long time,” he added.
“He’s a close friend and someone I respect a lot, and I just hope that he gets that consistency of football now in Japan.”
Cahill said he was excited to join his fellow Socceroos, flagging a “revolution” for the national team under the tutelage of Postecoglou.