Tim Cahill a future Socceroos manager, says Phil Neville

Tim Cahill Socceroos
Could Australia's all-time leading goal scorer make a successful national team manager?

He's set to play in his fourth and final World Cup for Australia, but Tim Cahill has the potential to return to the international arena as a manager of the Socceroos according to former teammate Phil Neville.

Cahill and Neville first crossed paths at Everton in 2005 with the two forging a close friendship that remains strong to this day.

While Cahill will be focused on earning his spot in the history books should he score at a fourth straight World Cup for Australia, Neville already believes the 38-year-old has what it takes to manage the Socceroos in the near future.

"For the younger players in their squad he is their hero, a pioneer they can look up to and learn from," Neville told BBC Sport

"He is passing on his experience and it would not surprise me if he ended up being Australia's manager in a few years' time, because he has that much of an effect on their football community.

"But right now he is still a player and I know what he will be thinking - yes, I can inspire this team off the field but, when I get my chance on it, I am going to score that goal that puts me up there with probably the greatest player of all time, Pele."

Tim Cahill Socceroos 2018

Neville has himself stepped into the management since retiring as a player and was recently appointed coach of England's national women's side.

As for Cahill, he's been coy on his playing future after being released by Millwall at the end of the season and certainly has the ambition to do well as a manager.

Former Socceroos including Harry Kewell, John Aloisi, Tony Popovic and Kevin Muscat have all made the switch to management since the end of their playing days.

For Neville, a big part of his admiration for Cahill is the attitude of Australia's all-time leading goal scorer.

Article continues below

"If you follow him on social media you will see that he uses the hashtag '#fearless' a lot, and that probably sums him up," Neville said.

"We are both positive people and not one ounce of negativity came out of him in all the years I played with him, from 2005 to 2012.

"I can imagine he will be exactly the same now in the Australia camp - he is an inspiration, which is part of the reason he has been picked."