Socceroos and Everton star Tim Cahill predicts Melbourne Heart could win the A-League championship in their inaugural season on the back of a core of proven international-class players.
Cahill, part of an Everton side that will play the Heart at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, said he expected the A-League newcomers to put up a major challenge.
He said the likes of current Australian representative Michael Beauchamp and former Socceroos Josip Skoko and John Aloisi would help them become an instant powerhouse in the Australian domestic league.
“I honestly think the Heart are going to be challenging for the title and pushing,” Cahill said.
“Sometimes people say it takes time to grow and get into the A-League, but I think for them they’ve got so many experienced players and players that have been there and done it on a European level as well, an international level.
“For Heart, they’ve done all the right things to have all the ingredients for a great team.”
Everton downed A-League champions Sydney FC 1-0 on Saturday night and Cahill said the English Premier League club were fielding a strong team in the friendlies as they built towards their new season.
“We want all the fans to come out and support it, even the Melbourne Victory fans, because it’s not often I get to play in Australia and it’s great for the city of Melbourne to have two teams to compete in the A-League.”
Cahill said it was a positive that the Heart’s introduction would give the A-League intra-city derbies for the first time.
“Derby games are massive for us (in the EPL), Everton and Liverpool is the pinnacle of football and for the fans something that they get the bragging rights, it has a big onus on it and the players know what’s riding on it,” he said.
“For Melbourne Heart and Victory, who are pretty much when you look at the squads, even keel, it could be pretty exciting.”
Meanwhile, Cahill said he had plans to help the growth of the A-League after his playing career was over, but refused to elaborate.