He has a knack of scoring goals

AP

Now in his third season with Everton, Tim Cahill has undoubtedly been one of manager David Moyes' best signings, writes Andy Hampson.

Tim Cahill is a free-scoring and combative midfielder who has made a huge impact at Everton — and at international level — since joining the Barclays English Premier League club in 2004.

Cahill was born in Sydney to an English father and Samoan mother and raised in the city. He played for Balmain Police Boys Club as a child but most of his young football development came with the juniors at the Sydney Olympics. He moved on to Sydney United but left Australia at the age of 16 to pursue a career in England. He was taken on by Millwall in 1997 and made his debut the following year. He went on to make 241 appearances for the South London club, the last being in the 2004 FA Cup final.

That 2003-04 season was an amazing one for Cahill and Millwall. The Lions, outside the top flight in the Coca-Cola Championship at the time, surprised everyone as they progressed to the English game's showpiece occasion. Cahill was at the heart of their amazing run and scored 11 goals during the season, including the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland.

The final itself was not such a happy event as Millwall were humbled 3-0 by Manchester United, but Cahill had come of age and a GBP2 million move to Everton followed.

He settled in immediately at the Merseyside club and has acquired a handy knack of scoring goals regularly and at crucial times. Now in his third season with the club, he has undoubtedly been one of manager David Moyes' best signings.

With 12 goals he was one of the key factors in Everton's dramatic climb to fourth place in the table in his first season, the club earning a shot at the Champions League as a result. His contract was extended at the end of the campaign and he was similarly effective last season, scoring another 10 goals.

His performances for Australia have been just as impressive. His first cap came in 2004 and despite a number of substitute appearances, he is already the most prolific midfielder in the country's history. His arrival on the international scene coincided perfectly with Australia's qualification for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1974.

Cahill had to wait longer than he had hoped to make his international debut due to regulations over eligibility that have now been scrapped. By playing for Western Samoa in an under-20 tournament when he was 14, Cahill precluded himself from future selection for any other country even though he was Australian. World governing body FIFA eventually amended their rules in 2004 to allow players who had played for one country at under-age level to represent another as a senior if they hold that nationality.

Cahill lives with his girlfriend Rebekah Greenhill. They have two sons together, Shay and Kyah.

He owns a Bugatti Veyron 16.4, the most powerful, expensive and fastest street-legal car in the world. It is built by Volkswagen's subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles and has a top speed of 253mph. It is named after Pierre Veyron, winner of the 1939 Le Mans 24-Hour race. Celebrity owners include Tom Cruise and Ralph Lauren.

Cahill made the news when Rebekah parked it in a busy Manchester street during the summer and returned to find it surrounded by a group of admiring `petrolheads'.

FACTFILE Name: Tim Cahill Position: Midfielder Club: Everton DOB: 06/12/1979 Australia Caps: 20 Australia Goals: 11 Australia Debut: v South Africa, March 2004 Moment to remember

Cahill is hardly likely to forget his World Cup debut in Germany this year when he scored two brilliant late goals against Japan. Australia looked beaten in Kaiserslautern as they trailed 1-0 when Cahill, on as a substitute, equalised with six minutes remaining. It was Australia's first ever goal in a World Cup finals match but Cahill was not finished as he struck a stunner from outside the penalty area moments later. John Aloisi then wrapped up an incredible 3-1 win.

Moment to forget

Australia impressed at the World Cup but were knocked out in controversial circumstances by eventual winners Italy in the second round. Fabio Grosso was accused of going to ground too easily as he won a penalty in stoppage time and Francesco Totti put Italy through from the spot with the last kick of the match.

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