Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce said he felt no hesitation to select Tim Cahill for one last club match before Australia’s decisive World Cup qualifier play-offs against Central American nation Honduras next week.

“Tim’s desperate to play,” Joyce said of the Australian football icon. “He’s grabbed at the opportunity to play and he’s going into 90 minutes with two big games [ahead of him].”

Those two crucial games grow large in the collective viewfinder of Australian football as the national team aim to make the FIFA World Cup for a fourth consecutive term.

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A key cog to Australia’s chances of beating Honduras, Cahill is often summoned to the big stage to produce big moments and he’s rarely failed to deliver.

Without the former Everton man the Socceroos are a considerably less threatening team and when he was removed from the field after 25 minutes with an ankle injury in Melbourne City’s Friday night’s clash against Sydney FC, Australia groaned in unison.

The one string attached to Cahill’s selection for City was focussed solely on his health and making it through the game unscarred. But Joyce said he didn’t think about that angle, adding it was Cahill himself who pushed for a final run before flying off.

“We’re trying to win a football match,” Joyce said. “He’s a Melbourne City player … he’s desperate to play in a football game against a big team and win the game. That’s his objective and my objective.”

“The fact is that the national team coach has got no bearing on that. Timmy was desperate to play, he’s been training hard, it’s a big game, we want to win a big game.

“That’s it,” added Joyce denying Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou got in touch with him to talk about Cahill’s fitness.

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Cahill was taken to hospital during the game for an MRI scan with reports suggesting his ankle had swollen; travelling to the Americas won’t help as long flights cause swelling to feet and ankles at the best of times.

Joyce’s counterpart on Friday, Graham Arnold stated his surprise that Cahill started the game at AAMI Park.

“I was actually surprised he started. He’s going to be away the next few weeks, but I don’t make those decisions,” Arnold said.

“The first thing I thought of straight away was national team. Timmy’s our star … What he did against Syria – in 120 mins – what he did was phenomenal. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed he’s okay.

“I didn’t see it, I just heard him scream.”

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Socceroos staff and players have already begun filtering out of their home bases to make the trip over to the Americas where they’ll eventually land at San Pedro Sula, Honduras for the first leg of the AFC-CONCACAF play-off on November 11 (AEDT) before returning to Sydney for the second game on November 15.

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Football and Aussie rules commentator, writer and radio host/producer from Melbourne.