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Sunday 27 May 2018

Chelsea’s Gary Cahill clings to hopes of World Cup trip with England

The former Bolton defender has experienced a mixed campaign.

Gary Cahill
Gary Cahill

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Gary Cahill has won every major club honour with Chelsea but the defender acknowledges his pedigree is no guarantee of a place in England’s World Cup squad.

The 32-year-old has endured a roller coaster season, which began as captain of club and country.

Losing his place for Chelsea proved costly on the international stage and Cahill was dropped for the March friendlies with Holland and Italy.

Once a certainty for a place in England’s starting XI, Cahill is now a doubt to make Gareth Southgate’s final 23-man squad for Russia 2018, which is to be announced on Wednesday.

Some reports have claimed he has missed out, and Cahill was waiting on Tuesday for the verdict from the England boss.

“I couldn’t do anything when I was out of the (Chelsea) team,” Cahill said.

“I’ve just got to perform as best I can, which I’ve tried to do in the last five, six weeks, to put myself back in the frame. If it’s good enough, it’s good enough… if it’s not….

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Gary Cahill has twice won the Premier League title with Chelsea

“My CV’s there, it’s just whether they want to use that or go that way or not. That’s not my decision.

“If I’m in, I’ll go and give everything I’ve got. If I’m not in, I’ll go away with my family and reflect and rest.”

Cahill joined Chelsea in January 2012, winning the FA Cup and Champions League in his first six months at Stamford Bridge.

Since then the former Bolton and Aston Villa centre-back has won two Premier League titles and the League Cup, before taking on the captain’s armband when former England skipper John Terry departed the club last summer.

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Gary Cahill has captained England in recent seasons

Expectation for England has dwindled since Terry led the team, after premature exits at the Brazil World Cup four years ago and Euro 2016.

But Cahill knows the quality of the squad and that the time will come when England deliver at a major tournament.

“Sooner or later a tournament will be successful. You just want to be a part of that time when it is successful,” he added.

Cahill insists Southgate’s final decision will not impact on his mindset ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final with Manchester United at Wembley.

“In or out it won’t affect anything,” he added.

Cahill reflected on a “tough” campaign which included the retirement of Ryan Mason. The Hull midfielder fractured his skull in a challenge with Cahill in January 2017.

The Blues defender is eager to finish the season on a high.

“I’m so determined this week, honestly,” Cahill said. “It’s been a roller coaster season. I’m still here.”

The challenges include Chelsea finishing fifth in the Premier League to miss out on Champions League qualification. But Cahill would not swap a place in the top four for a trophy.

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Gary Cahill believes silverware is more memorable than consistently qualifying for the Champions League

“If you were in the top four for the last seven, eight years, qualifying for the Champions League and won nothing… I wouldn’t swap that.

“I see it being a disappointing season, of course, but certainly I’d like to finish on a massive high for the fans, for us, as players, and for the club to go into next season.”

Press Association

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