Sport Football Tim Cahill praises new Socceroo Riley McGree ahead of vital World Cup qualifiers
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Tim Cahill praises new Socceroo Riley McGree ahead of vital World Cup qualifiers

tim cahill riley mcgree
Riley McGree shocked everyone by getting a spot in the Socceroos' squad. Photo: Getty
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Tim Cahill has taken Riley McGree under his wing and reckons the Socceroos newbie has something special in him.

McGree was the shock inclusion in Ange Postecoglou’s squad for this month’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against Iraq in Tehran and the UAE in Sydney.

The 18-year-old has made just eight A-League starts for Adelaide United but has clearly shown enough to prompt Postecoglou to bring him into camp for a closer look.

Cahill, 37, says he can see it too.

The veteran striker bumped into McGree in transit to Iran and took the opportunity to explain to him what to expect from his first senior international experience.

“I’m old enough to be his dad – my eldest boy is 14,” Cahill said.

“He was sitting by himself in the (airport) lounge, I grabbed him to come sit in the corner and chill out.

“It was good getting him early so I could sit and run through the team, the environment, what it’s like.

“Him coming in feeling he’s the youngest with a lot of pressure – but it can also be the opposite, I can tell him we’re here to look after him.

“He’ll understand that wherever he goes it’s a great environment – whether it’s (playing) FIFA upstairs, in the treatment room, sitting next to me at my table at dinner.”

Scottish Premiership giants Celtic are reportedly tracking McGree’s development with keen interest.

McGree shows confidence and skill in training

While he is at long odds to feature in Thursday night’s (AEDT) clash with Iraq he has not looked out of place at Socceroos training.

“Personally, I think he has amazing feet, he’s good on the ball, very confident and very forward thinking,” Cahill said.

“The main thing I said to him was to get selected for your country at this age is a massive feat.

“But with the way we want to play he has something that the boss sees, which is pretty awesome at his age.

“I’m excited for him and excited to help with the next stage of his football development.”

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