Brett Emerton is a better signing than Kewell

Much was made of Harry Kewell’s move to Melbourne Victory, but Socceroos star Tim Cahill believes Sydney FC’s Brett Emerton coup is the “biggest catch in the history of Australian football”.

However, seeing not one but two of the Socceroos’ biggest names return to the A-League will not make Cahill homesick any time soon. Cahill welcomed Emerton into the Socceroos Brisbane camp late on Tuesday ahead of Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against Thailand. It was just hours after the 32-year-old had been officially unveiled as Sydney FC’s marquee signing.

Kewell won’t be in action for Australia’s first two World Cup qualifiers after losing fitness looking for his next club. His search finally ended when he linked with the Victory in what was arguably the biggest signing of any Australian football code. While Cahill claimed Australia now had the depth to cover the likes of Kewell, the Everton star said there was only one Brett Emerton. “For me, Brett Emerton is the heart and soul of the Australia team,” Cahill said on Wednesday. “To find out he has signed with Sydney FC – that would have to be the biggest catch in the history of Australian football. “He’s a player who goes about his business very quietly, he is the best player I have ever trained and worked with. “I just think Sydney FC are very clever by brokering the Emerton deal.”

Cahill didn’t rule out following his mate’s footsteps – but not in the near future. “Myself coming back soon I can’t see it,” he said. “I am enjoying the Premier League, and what it gives back to the kids in Australia as an ambassador. “In the near future no – later on in life who knows.”

Cahill rammed home the point that the experience of the likes of Emerton would be a key to negotiating their way through their first two World Cup qualifiers which also includes a clash with Saudi Arabia in Dammam. But Cahill did not seem concerned by the absence of Kewell. “Of course you are going to miss his experience,” he said. “But I think our depth is fantastic after seeing players like Michael Zullo, James Troisi or Adam Sarota come through. I focus on what we have here and the players that bring so much to the team. And I was really impressed with what I saw at (the recent friendly against) Wales. The training, our mind set and how we got on with football – the goals came naturally to the team. The likes of Kewell, Emerton and Cahill were part of what was deemed a “golden generation” in Australian football. But Cahill believed another was already coming through. It was fantastic to be a part of that era and move forward to this era with these players,” he said of the Socceroos youngsters.

“Every time I come into camp I learn something different about the young talent – the transition is perfect.”

by Buford Balony

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