Socceroos great shows no signs of slowing down
TIM Cahill is like a fine wine or a good drop of Scotch whisky, he just gets better with age.
The Socceroo will turn 36 on December 6, but his hat-trick in Bangladesh earlier in the week proves he is still going strong and looks a strong bet to lead the Australian line at the 2018 World Cup in Russia if Ange Postecoglou's men make the final.
Cahill's three goals in Dhaka will not feature on his highlight reel but the fact that he has taken his record tally for his country to 45 in 88 games at an age where most players are thinking of retirement is nothing short of outstanding.
What is also remarkable is Cahill's strike rate. He has scored nine goals in 12 games this year for the Socceroos - the best tally he has achieved since making his debut for his country in 2004.
He has now scored 20 goals in World Cup qualifying games for Australia and there seems to be no signs of him slowing up.
Of course, you have to factor in the quality of the opposition the Socceroos have played in the past year but there is no questioning Cahill's determination to still do the business at the highest level.
In fact, Cahill's hunger to succeed seems stronger now than it has ever been and it also seems to me he wants to be there to help the younger members of the Socceroos squad to hopefully achieve what he has down the years.
Some (me included) were questioning his decision to move to China to play for Shanghai Shenhua earlier this year.
But he has proved those doubters wrong by finishing the Chinese Super League season in style.
Cahill finished the season by scoring 10 goals in his last 15 matches for his club, which, after a shaky start to the campaign, finished sixth in the league.
There is no doubt that the former Everton and Millwall star will finish his career as a Socceroos legend but just when that career will end, who knows?
Postecoglou will want his talisman to continue for as long as possible, not only for him to keep his scoring run going but to pass on his invaluable knowledge to the next generation.
The likes of Tom Juric, Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie have the skills to be top players for their country but it will be hard for them to take the baton from Cahill and run with it.
When Cahill does eventually kick off his boots for the final time, it will be extremely hard for someone to fill them but if Postecoglou and the Socceroos want to continue on an upward curve then someone has to.
Good luck to whoever that may be. Cahill will be a hard act to follow.