Everton's Arteta excited about FC clash

With Everton Football Club only hours away from boarding their flight to Sydney, dynamic midfielder, Mikel Arteta, says he is looking forward to the trip because of his good mate, Tim Cahill.

With Everton Football Club only hours away from boarding their flight to Sydney, dynamic midfielder, Mikel Arteta, says he is looking forward to the trip because of his good mate, 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.

The English Premier League powerhouse, known as the ‘Toffees-, will play three matches in their Everton Tour Down Under 2010 - against Sydney FC, Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar.

“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 said that while he doesn-t know much about the A-League, he is familiar with some of the names and faces.

“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.”

“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.”

The Everton number 10 has been a fan favourite at Goodison Park since he joined from Real Sociedad in January 2005. Born in San Sebastian, Spain, the 28 year old began his career with Barcelona and also had spells with PSG and Rangers.

Arteta will play in the Sydney and Melbourne matches with Cahill, before heading off to his long-planned wedding in Spain where Cahill is a groomsman.

The Everton squad arrive in Sydney early morning on Saturday 3 July.

Everton Down Under 2010 matches will be held in Sydney (v Sydney FC) on 10 July at ANZ Stadium; in Melbourne (v Melbourne Heart) on 14 July at Etihad Stadium; and in Brisbane (v Brisbane Roar) on 17 July at Suncorp Stadium.

Tickets are available from Ticketek for Sydney and Brisbane matches, and from Ticketmaster for the Melbourne match