Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta is putting contract negotiations to the side for the club’s trip to Australia.
The Toffees land in Sydney sometime today and before boarding the flight in England, the Spaniard said he was extremely excited about the opportunity to come down under and experience the homeland of his good friend and teammate Tim Cahill.
“Tim is one of my closest friends and he always talks so passionately about Australia.
“To be able to share the experience with him of being in Australia, and playing for Everton in Australia, is something that I will really enjoy,” Arteta said.
“It always adds to pre-season when we have a destination that is exciting and somewhere the players look forward to visiting.
“We have had some great pre-seasons at Everton because of the destinations and the training facilities.
“The USA has been popular with the manager in the last four years for these reasons and Australia fits the same bill.”
Arteta added that he was looking forward to experiencing being a part of the pre-season for three A-League clubs – Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar – despite the fact he does not know much about the competition.
“Of course, Dwight Yorke [Sydney FC guest player] is very familiar to us as is Jesper Olsen [Melbourne Heart assistant coach]. I also remember John Aloisi [Melbourne Heart] from his days playing in Spain,” he added.
“I do know that if the players in the sides we face are all as competitive as Tim, then we are in for some intense matches but that is what pre-season is all about.
“The Australian sporting mentality is something I really admire and I’m looking forward to experiencing it first-hand.”