Cahill relishes derby magic
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29/09/2011 15:20 +0100Saturday sees the 216th staging of one of the world's oldest and greatest inter-city rivalries, a match which divides families and transcends geographical boundaries, capturing the imagination of millions of fans around the world. Although Cahill may be a fiercely-proud Australian after more than seven years at Goodison Park he admits it is now "part of his life". And having worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of his sport, leaving his homeland as a teenager after his parents took out a loan to fund his pursuit of professional football, these are the opportunities he seizes when he can. "I think it is one of the biggest [matches] other than playing for your country in a World Cup. The derby is magical," the 31-year-old said. "It is not only the day of the game, it is after, it is before, it is the grudges, the banter. "For those 90 minutes the whole of Liverpool stops and you have countries around the world watching. "Going into the game, whether you are injured or you have little problems whatever, it is forgotten. "Everything is left on the pitch and for me, coming from Australia, I feel the same sort of attitude. "I found it hard to get here, I have this opportunity so I just don't want to miss a second on the pitch - I want to try to affect it, hence why I've had so much joy in the derbies. "For the fans and for me it means everything because it is part of my life now." Cahill is not the first Australian to star in a Merseyside derby as one of his boyhood heroes Craig Johnston was doing so almost 30 years ago, although his goalscoring record of two against the Blues is somewhat overshadowed by his compatriot. Both had similar career paths, gambling on moves to England confident in their ability to succeed, and both now share the same desire to put something back into the Australian game. Cahill is making long-term plans to expand his network of coaching clinics after a successful summer run in which he returned home to provide hands-on expertise. And having Robbie Anderson, Everton's senior academy development officer, to help coach coaches the Toffees midfielder hopes he can have a lasting effect on the development of young footballers. "It was always a dream and a vision to play overseas like someone like Craig; it was something I wanted to work towards and be a professional," said Cahill, whose organisation will run more coaching courses in January as they roll out the programme. "Craig came through a grassroots Australian programme in schools and that is what I came through. "I looked up to Craig and hopefully these kids look up to me. "It's why I want to do my clinics, why the future of Australia should be the grassroots. That is something I am really passionate about. "It is all about me looking to the future, starting two years ago setting up foundations where everyone in Australia has a chance to come to my clinics. "The biggest thing for me is to influence kids to not only to watch the Premier League but be inspired by it and to look at what I have achieved. "I know how much kids are passionate about it, they just need the opportunity." Cahill has scored five times in 13 previous derbies but his participation at Goodison Park on Saturday is still in doubt as he recovers from the shin injury inflicted by Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany's apparent stamp last weekend. It would be a huge blow to Everton and the player if he were to miss out, especially as he knows what a win means for either half of the city. "The history I have learned to grow up with from Duncan Ferguson to Stubbsy (Alan Stubbs), big players, and Tony Hibbert who has been at the club years and years - it is their life," he added. "You walk around the changing room and the club and all the staff are so passionate - you have to be blue, you can't be red. "That is instilled into you as a player and you take that on to the pitch. "But it is a really respectful rivalry; I respect their club a lot and obviously they do us as well. "It is a compliment that when sometimes I get some banter from Liverpool fans it is only because I have scored against them." Watch Everton v Liverpool live on Sky Sports 2 and HD2 from 1245 BST on Saturday.