Socceroos great Tim Cahill isn’t guaranteed a World Cup spot, coach Bert van Marwijk says.
Cahill has been included in van Marwijk’s 26-man squad for two friendlies later this month despite limited recent game time.
“It’s not a guarantee for him that I will nominate him for the world championship,” van Marwijk told reporters on Thursday. “But for me it’s also important to give him a signal that he’s an important player.”
Cahill has played just 38 minutes for English Championship side Millwall since joining the club in January in his bid to play at a fourth World Cup in Russia in June.
“He didn’t play a lot and it’s important that players have rhythm and play,” van Marwijk said. “But there always are exceptions.
“And he’s a player who was very important for the national team in the qualification and in the play-offs.
It’s a very good signal from him that he went to England to play to make a chance for the world championships.”
Van Marwijk will coach Australia for the first time against Norway in Oslo on March 24 (AEDT) and then against Colombia in London four days later.
The squad will assemble in Oslo from Sunday but some players won’t arrive until Tuesday, leaving van Marwijk just two training sessions before the initial match.
“I try to know them better and tell them something about my plan … but really train things I want, I think we don’t have the time,” he said.
“And my experience is also that it’s not good to tell your whole vision in 30 minutes, I think that is not good for the players, that takes some time. It’s the situation. I cannot change it.”
Van Marwijk kept the selection door open for players outside the squad including emerging talents Brandon Borrello and Daniel Arzani.
“They are young players and I think at the moment they are not ready to join the national team,” he said. “But we keep following them. A lot of things can happen in the next seven, eight weeks.”
Central defenders Trent Sainsbury and Matthew Jurman were included in the squad but were unlikely to play as they continue recovery from injury.
“All the players are important but in the central defenders, we don’t have too much possibilities and that is why I nominated these two,” van Marwijk said.
“While I know they are not ready to train for 100 per cent with the group they both can do parts of the training … I hope they will be fit within a few weeks.”