Arteta pumped for Australian tour

Everton's Mikel Arteta says he can't wait to join good mate Tim Cahill on his club's pre-season trip to Australia starting next week.

Everton's Mikel Arteta says he can't wait to join good mate Tim Cahill on his club's pre-season trip to Australia starting next week.

"Tim is one of my closest friends and he always talks so passionately about Australia," Arteta said.

"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 side will play three matches in its 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," Arteta added.

"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 didn't know much about the Hyundai A-League, he was 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 No.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 arrives in Sydney on Saturday.