Tim Cahill could play ‘30 seconds or 30 minutes.’
Tim Cahill could play ‘30 seconds or 30 minutes.’

Bench wrench: Timmy must make do with sub role

BERT van Marwijk has hinted at a bit-part role for Socceroos great Tim Cahill at the World Cup.

Australia's all-time leading goalscorer seems unlikely to contend for a starting berth in Russia despite heroics in World Cup qualifying.

Cahill, who at 38 is the fourth-oldest player at the tournament, started both of the home qualifiers in successful playoffs with Syria and Honduras last year. His impeccable international credentials include goals at the last three World Cups.

But a lack of game time may have marked his card with the incoming Dutch coach, who has is yet to start the striker in one of his three friendlies to date, and isn't likely to against Hungary in Australia's last warm-up match on Sunday morning (EST).

"Everybody knows Tim's situation. I've spoken to him a few times. It's very clear the situation between us," van Marwijk said.

"Maybe I will let him play for a period (against Hungary).

"He needs it but he will not become a better player by one game.

"The problem was already in the last half-year."

That unspecified 'problem' is a lack of game-time at club level. After severing ties with A-League club Melbourne City, Cahill struck a romantic move home to former club Millwall in England's second tier.

Cahill has just over an hour of football in 10 substitute appearances for the club in the last six months.

That doesn't mean he won't be a weapon for Australia in Russia, with van Marwijk very aware of his qualities.

"When I need him he must be ready. We've discussed that and he's ready for that. If it's thirty seconds or thirty minutes, when I need him he will be ready," he said.