SOCCEROO Tim Cahill says he's setting himself for a big Premier League campaign at Everton after getting a rare full pre-season under his belt.
The 31-year-old midfielder missed Australia's two friendlies against New Zealand and Serbia in June so he could enjoy a hard-earned rest before doing a full pre-season at Everton following a foot injury.
Cahill scored nine goals for Everton in the first-half of last season before aggravating the foot injury while on Socceroos duty at the Asian Cup.
The Sydney-born star told the Liverpool Echo he's now feeling fresh for a big 2011-12 season.
“For me, I’ve never done a pre-season properly from the start with the team because I’ve been playing internationals,” Cahill said.
“So to train with them straight away has been easier for me, I don’t have to come back later and fit in a mini pre-season.
“Coming back earlier has benefitted me and I already feel really good.”
Cahill added: “Everyone needs a rest. It’s common sense. There are a lot of players at every club who play internationals year-in year-out.
“Last season in two competitions, the World Cup and the Asia Cup. I’ll never turn that kind of opportunity down, so the rest has been good.
“The two games I have missed had two good points – other players were getting a chance to play for their country and I had 180 minutes where I didn’t have to play.”
Cahill said he'd enjoyed the pre-season regime of boss David Moyes, who is known for pushing players to their limits.
“Pre-season has been going really well. Personally I’ve really enjoyed it, it has been well structured,” Cahill said.
“The running has been fantastic and I enjoy being around the lads. Credit to the gaffer and the staff, it’s been well thought-out with three sessions a day.
“It’s been hard but it’s about getting your body up to a level of fitness to play in America.”
Indeed, the Toffees, who spent time in Australia last year during pre-season, will tour the United States this month with games against Philadelphia Union and DC United to come.
Cahill insisted he was in good shape for the tour and the upcoming 2011-12 Premier League season.
“I am always in good shape, regardless of how much I play,” Cahill said.
“We are professionals. We get paid to train hard every day to make sure that if you play 30 or 60 games a season, you are at top fitness.
“You can’t stop injuries, every player gets injuries. So then it becomes all about maintenance.
“We don’t have the biggest squad, but you play when asked and you do a job. That’s what we did last season.”
Cahill added: “I thought last season, our Premier League showing was fantastic. We finished seventh, and considering the circumstances of the season as a whole I am very proud of the football club.
“A lot of clubs below us would love to be where we are.”