Cahill ready to win back spot
Gary Cahill knows he faces a battle to win back his England spot, but his Champions League experiences with Chelsea have given him the belief that he belongs on the international stage.
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The central defender missed out on the Euro 2012 finals after breaking his jaw in the final warm-up match with Belgium at Wembley.
Cahill then witnessed the fine performances of Joleon Lescott and John Terry in Poland and Ukraine during his absence.
But now he is back competing for a spot in Friday's opening World Cup qualifier in Moldova with the added confidence under his belt of helping Chelsea win Europe's biggest domestic prize.
Cahill said: "I was gutted to miss out on the Euros because it was the first big tournament I was going to have a part in.
"To get the blow literally just before we flew off was devastating.
"I was holding onto a bit of hope that I might get there until they had to put metal plates into my mouth and an elastic band to keep the jaw in place!
"Now I'm back fit but there is real competition and I think myself not making the Euros has made it harder in one way.
"I thought the lads did well in the Euros so, for me not being able to stamp my authority in that tournament, has made it another fight for me to get back involved and get the starting place.
"There is great competition, Jags (Phil Jagielka) scored against Italy and Joleon (Lescott) had a great Euros. JT (Terry) is well known and proven for many years.
"The lads who are picked want to keep hold of the shirt. It is going to be tough but it is a fight I'd had since I've joined because we are blessed with some good players in England."
Cahill began his career at Aston Villa and played regular Barclays Premier League football at Bolton but it is at Chelsea he has started to push for a regular England spot.
He said: "I think the Champions League success with Chelsea, the wins over Barcelona and Bayern Munich, have helped me, have progressed me, given me the experience of playing in those games.
"Before that, there was always that question mark above my head because of where I'd come from and I'd not played in those sort of games.
"People were saying 'can he play in those situations, in those sort of games?'
"It has made me more hungry to be part of those games, but experience wise, with coming to England, which is the top of the tree, it will help me going forward.
"I'd like to think it has made me a better player but you have to keep improving and we've got Champions League games for Chelsea coming up and big games for England."
Cahill knows the importance of England making a positive start to their campaign with Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday next on the agenda after the clash with Moldova.
He said: "It's the start of the campaign for the target in two years time. You always want to start well and, with the squad we possess here, it's a good chance to get off to a great start.
"We only had a couple of days to prepare for the Italy game last month and it was the start of the season with everyone just getting up to match speed.
"Now I think the lads are up to speed, and we'll have three or four good days with the manager to be prepared for the two games.
"Since I've been in the squad, we have done pretty well in qualifying and always been strong so hopefully that will continue."