Making it to France for Gary Cahill seemed like such a given. Despite a pretty dire season for Chelsea, Cahill will likely start for England in their opening European Championship game with Russia and it seems as though he has waltzed into the XI once again.
Where John Terry once owned the centre-back spots of both Chelsea and England, Gary Cahill now holds such a role. For all the positives in Cahill’s game, the blocks most of all, he is not – and never will be – close to being John Terry. Cahill makes more mistakes even at his peak than Terry does at his geriatric stage of his career and, frankly, is fortuitous to be playing for either of Chelsea or England at this moment in time. There’s still time to find England v Russia betting tips at thatsagoal.com.
Cahill is a storming beneficiary of Chelsea’s defensive weaknesses and a total dearth of centre-back options for Roy Hodgson to pick from. Gary Cahill would not have even come close to the squad if he was in contention a decade ago, when England had an embarrassment of defensive riches and Chelsea were one of the best defensive units in recent memory across all of European football. An initial positive impact upon the Chelsea defence in 2012 was followed by several positive seasons, but, even in the 2014/15 title winning campaign, his performances begun to become more mistake-ridden than any other centre-back in recent memory at Chelsea.
As Ivanovic, Terry and Courtois have faced the brunt of defensive criticism, Cahill has, somehow, escaped with little blame. The England centre-back has now captained his country and regained his position at Chelsea through good fortune more than anything else, it seems. A class act on his day, Cahill’s recent form has been a sensational concern for many. The ex-Bolton man reappeared in the Chelsea XI due to an injury to Kurt Zouma and is yet to demonstrate that he will ever replicate that superb form between 2012 and 2014.
Of course, it’s not as if all of this has simply fallen into Cahill’s path. The former Villa defender has earned his stripes at less reputable Premier League clubs and built his own reputation over a number of years, but it is the current retention of his status that is where the fortune plays a part. If England had greater depth at the heart of their defence, or Kurt Zouma and John Terry had stayed fit, Cahill may well be missing out on Euro 2016 and wondering where the next move in his career is. However, he is now waiting to start England’s first game against Russia in a few days and has been tied down to Stamford Bridge on a long-term contract.
Cahill, whether you love him or loathe him, is almost certain to be integral to Antonio Conte’s plans in the 2016/17 campaign. An admirable defender, who seems to slide under the radar whether in good or bad form, Cahill must find his best performances this summer and beyond if he is to retain his status as a regular for both Chelsea and England.