Football: Cahill puts club before country

LIVERPOOL, April 15, 2011 (AFP) - Tim Cahill is ready to put club before country and miss Australia's June friendlies in order to recharge his batteries ahead of the next Premier League campaign with Everton.

Cahill missed a month of Everton's season in January to represent the Socceroos having had little rest last summer due to his commitments with Australia at the World Cup.

Despite missing the last two games with a foot injury, the 31-year-old remains his club's leading scorer on the Premier League stage this term having found the net nine times.

Cahill is again a major doubt when Everton attempt to continue keep alive their faint hopes of qualifying for Europe at home to struggling Blackburn on Saturday.

But news that he is ready to rest this summer instead of playing for Australia will please Everton manager David Moyes, who regards Cahill as one of his key players.

"I've played seven years (with) no rest in the summer, probably more," Cahill told Australia's The World Game.

"I wouldn't change it for the world. I've got a foot problem but I'm buzzing. I love football and I love playing for my country.

"But also I think common sense has to prevail. I missed the Germany game (in March) and I'll probably miss the next couple of games because they're friendlies.

"For me, when it's competition and it's something where I'm going to win something or get something out of, then I'll be back playing."

Cahill still has an outside chance of representing Everton in Europe next season. Moyes's side are on course to better last season's eighth-placed finish after winning four of the last six league games.

They cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to finish fifth but their run-in includes games against leaders Manchester United, Champions League-chasing Manchester City and Chelsea, who can mathematically still win the title.

Blackburn are in trouble near the foot of the table having failed to win a league game since January 23.

They are three points above the relegation zone with six matches remaining.

And they arrive at Goodison Park without influential defender Ryan Nelsen after the New Zealand international was ruled out for the rest of the season following a knee operation on Monday.

"There were a lot of little bits of floating debris in his knee that he's been in a lot of pain with," said Blackburn manager Steve Kean.

"He couldn't manage to go on. The surgeon was happy about how the operation went and he had a full clearout.

"We're hopeful he'll be back in time for pre-season training."

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