In the latest edition of Off Script, former Everton attacking midfielder Tim Cahill explains the fine details of how he mastered the art of heading in the Premier League.
The Australian scored 31 of his 56 Premier League goals with his head, and was nicknamed the Blue Kangaroo by his adoring fans at Goodison Park.
Here, speaking with Geoff Shreeves in the latest Off Script, he explains step-by-step how he would get the better of his markers in the penalty area, and how growing up among a family of rugby lovers toughened him up for his move to England at 16.
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‘The goal never moves’
Firstly, it’s technique training. Making sure you can head a ball cleanly. The main thing I say when I train young kids, is: “The goal never moves.”
Secondly, you find chemistry with players. I had Hibbo [Tony Hibbert], Mikel Arteta, Bainsey [Leighton Baines] and Steven Pienaar. Their movement would be control, then set, then cross. I knew the likelihood of a cross hitting the back post was higher, and in my favour. That’s why you never saw me go near post, because it would more than likely go over my head.
Another important thing was my timing of run, and running off the shoulder of the weaker defender, particularly the person who is playing as a six in the midfield and has dropped into defence.
Before every game, my analysis was important. I wanted to know who the weakest centre-back was, and who could turn off his left shoulder better than his right. If I was up against an Ashley Cole at left-back or a Branislav Ivanovic at right-back, I’d pick Ashley Cole as the set. You must go into detail with all the little things in the game, and then be smart enough to use your power tool.
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I had a high fitness calibre, so was able to keep running into the box, and a lot of goals would be scored late on.