New DP Cahill heeds Henry’s advice ahead of anticipated Red Bulls debut

Cahill (Getty Images)

By DAVE MARTINEZ

Tim Cahill said all the right things during his introductory press conference with the New York Red Bulls, and as he gets set for his anticipated club debut against Tottenham Tuesday night at Red Bull Arena, he is all ears when it comes to working with former Premier League adversary Thierry Henry, his new teammate and captain.

"I’ve achieved a hell of a lot in my career," Cahill said, "But I also feel that this is a big move for me. I know a lot of people might think otherwise, but I’m 32 years old. I respect MLS, I’m coming here at a good age, I’m fit and I’m ready for a new challenge."

Henry has already been greatly involved in the education of this new challenge. The French striker was delighted last week as news broke of the Everton legend joining the club and was quick to offer a bit of advice to his soon-to-be teammate.

"When I first arrived here, I was stupid enough to play right away and it didn’t work. Like (Alessandro) Nesta did, I guess you need a couple of weeks to get yourself ready to get yourself ready to get into this league, especially with the hitters we have around," Henry said. "This is my experience, when I did that it was my mistake. End of the day, if (Cahill) will play, he’ll play I guess. Having said that, I know how stupid I was playing straight away. If you ask me to do the same thing, I’d do the same thing. You just want to play right? You want to show why you came, and I guess he wants to show everyone that he’s committed. I am going to tell him but I am sure he’s going to want to go out there straight away."

True to form, Cahill is ready to jump into the fray. As reported by SBI last week, coach Hans Backe confirmed the Red Bulls newest Designated Player would debut alongside a returning Teemu Tainio in a friendly tilt against Tottenham – much like Henry did two years ago.

"I’m from Australia, so we don’t do things in half measures, we just do what we’re told," Cahill declared. "For me, this has been crazy since I’ve been here. I’ve been on four, five or six flights here and there, fitting training sessions in, sleeping in the afternoon. This is our job, this is something we love doing. I know playing (against Tottenham) might be a bit quick, but I’m here now, I’m feeling fit, I’m feeling good. It might be a bit stupid, or whatever, but that’s what we do."

Acknowledging his teammates' warning, Cahill added, "Henry’s a professional. His passion in training, his passion the other night in (Montreal), it’s what you need. It’s something that the other players respect a lot because it helps them be better, and if you don’t have that drive and if you don’t have that willingness to tell your teammate to do better or to give constructive criticism, you’re not going to get better.

"I spent a lot of time with Henry since I’ve been here and he’s been fantastic. He knows what I’m like. I’m looking forward to it, so I’m just going to grab the bull by the horns and run with it."

In that time, Henry, along with several of his new teammates, have been giving Cahill a crash course on the finer points of MLS soccer – from the league format to the fans themselves.

"The thing is, we’ve been talking about this with the players at dinner the other night," Cahill said, "and they’ve been teaching me everything and telling me. It’s different; it’s something that I’ve got to get used to."

One of the first things that stood out to the Australian midfielder was the poor away records that haunt teams across the league. He compared and contrasted the MLS phenomenon to that of his time at Everton, when playing on the road sometimes was a less stressful venture.

“Speaking to Henry, whether that’s a mentality thing or whether it’s a thing that naturally happens, because in any other league in the world, those statistics are always quite even," Cahill said. "In Everton we seemed to travel and sometimes play better sometimes with no pressure.

“There are so many different elements that I’m learning about; the way the teams are, and different things about MLS. I suppose it’s all about being leaders on the pitch and being one off the pitch. I signed as a Designated Player, but I don’t classify myself any differently than the rest of the players. I want them to trust me and to be at ease that on and off the park that I’m a team player.

"I think the one thing about me is I just try and do well on the football pitch and off it. Fans are obviously something that means a lot to me, and I’ve got to win them over. But you can only do that by playing football. I know that I’ve got the right drive and passion for the supporters and it’s up to me to show them that.

"Henry says it can be tough at times, but it’s been tough throughout my career, throughout certain seasons and things like that. I think over the duration of a season and when people get to know me, they’ll know what type of character I am and what type of person I am. I’m definitely going to enjoy it and hopefully the fans are too."

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14 Responses to New DP Cahill heeds Henry’s advice ahead of anticipated Red Bulls debut

  1. Jeff says:

    I am looking forward to Beckham, Henry, and other DPs retiring so that they will do interviews and talk about what they really felt about the league and what it takes to be successful in MLS. I am very curious to read those things.

  2. Old School says:

    “When I first arrived here, I was stupid enough to play right away…” -Frenchman

    “…we don’t do things in half measures, we just do what we’re told.” -Australian

    Cahill is coming with the right mentality, right attitude and that along with his ability will prove to be an asset to the league.

  3. Bobeto says:

    When Henry first arrived he seemed hesitant to shoot and his first thought was to set up a teammate…Keane did the same in his early games at LA. What I want to see is these DP players taking charge right away and attacking. Let their teammates clean-up the rebounds….Even Beckham has passed up on shots…For all the above players, this is not EPL….take or create your shots…they win games and that’s what your brought in to do….Good signings NY, LA, Montreal……Turn them loose in MLS>

  4. Gnarls says:

    Interesting comment from Cahill about MLS teams’ away records. I didn’t realize they were that notably dismal compared to the EPL, but it’s no secret that away teams are at a disadvantage in this league due to the massive distances between cities. Coming from Australia, the size of the US shouldn’t be a huge shock, but I think Cahill is in for an awakening next time NYRB has a road (air) trip.

  5. John says:

    Henry also said, if he had to to it over again, he’d do the same thing and play.

  6. Eugene says:

    Sounds great! I’m excited to see the energy and passion he’ll bring to the team, but I agree with Henry that it would be better for him to get integrated and get fit rather than jump right in. The team is doing well right now in the playoffs race, that really gives Cahill the flexibility to ease himself in for the upcoming Supporters Shield and MLS Cup pushes.

    So, when does the “extend Backe’s contract” discussion start? at the end of the season? I would really like to see Soler stay for another number of years as well. I think these two have done a great job in NY, bringing stability, results, a core group of players and improved performances.

  7. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    But keep in mind that the vast majority of Australians live on the eastern seaboard, and that most of the country is the Outback. Only one team in the A-League (Perth) is located on the west coast. So Australia is a bit like Canada and Russia; huge in land area, but most of it is virtually unpopulated. Not to mention that, unless I’m mistaken, Cahill has spent his entire career in England. I don’t expect him to be any better-equipped to the travel demands of American sports than any European athlete that comes over.

  8. Gnarls says:

    That’s true. I was just referring to his growing up in a massive continent/country. Seems like guys who come from European countries tend to misjudge the size of America. No question, he’s never flown 2500 miles for a league game. Everton played in Europa League in ’09-’10, but I’m pretty sure the distances around Europe still pale in comparison to JFK>LAX or JFK>YVR (that’s Vancouver for you terrestrial types).

  9. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    I don’t think there is a lot of truth to that outside of the big teams (Man U, City, Chelsea, etc.)…the mid-lower level teams struggle to win on the road in the EPL as well. I’m sure an Everton supporter can whip out an EPL road record for them…it won’t be positive.

  10. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Found it myself on the EPL website…
    Everton 19 games played away 5 wins – 8 draws – 6 losses.

  11. Gnarls says:

    +1 for research. So Everton had a 26% win record on the road and earned points in 68% of road games. That’s not good. By comparison, the Galaxy won 43% of their road games in 2011, and earned points in 75% of road games.

    Then again, Everton finished 7th in the league in 11-12 and LA won the SS in MLS. I’m sure our mid-table MLS teams had similar win ratios as Everton.

  12. betamale says:

    This is a great signing for New York. As a Millwall fan, I can say to you that Cahill’s character will make him a fan favorite at NY. Millwall fans are notorious for expecting nothing less than 100% work-rate on the field and Cahill excelled at that with his time in SE London and was adored for it. Countless players get run out of town if they ease off at times. He’s still fondly remembered as a Millwall great.

    Great fit for this league.

  13. gio says:

    lol i thought i was the only one.

  14. Andrew says:

    Yep. 2500 miles (between JFK and LAX) is a little longer than the distance from Lisbon to Moscow, and a little shorter than the distance between Reykjavik and Istanbul. And with the exception of Kazakh clubs, every club that has ever been involved in any UEFA competition is within 2250 miles of Everton’s home ground.