In this exclusive interview, sponsored by Adidas, England's center defender Gary Cahill talks about his jaw injury and time away from the field, and finally making it to the World Cup.
For the first time since, well since we can remember, literally no one expects England to do absolutely anything worth while this world cup. No one thinks England will get past their daunting group featuring Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica let alone lift the trophy. The best England can hope for is an inevitable second round defeat on penalties, but one man is hoping to prove the critics and fans wrong, and that man is Chelsea and England starting center back Gary Cahill, or G-Chill as we like to call him. Before England's match against Uruguay this Thursday where G-Chill will have the task of stopping that slithery Suarez from scoring, we somehow have this Adidas sponsored interview with the man himself where he talks about football and that...
You won your first England cap shortly after the World Cup in 2010. It must have been a long wait for you, but your chance to play in the planet’s biggest tournament is finally here…
It has been quite a wait, although the time went quickly. I thought I had a chance of making it to South Africa, I got a call up to the squad in 2009, but it was just a little bit too early for me to make it into the side. That was frustrating, so to go out to Brazil will be something very important.
Being ruled out of Euro 2012, where you would have almost certainly started in the team, with a broken jaw, must make you doubly hungry…
Definitely. I’m 28 now and I’ve not made an appearance at a major tournament yet, so I’m starting late in a way. It was cruel breaking my jaw in a collision with Joe Hart just before the tournament, but injuries are part and parcel of football so you can’t just sit moping about it. But I’m determined to make the very most of my chance this time around. Those setbacks are what drive you on and make you value your time in football. I want to get out there and get playing, I can’t wait.
Has moving to Chelsea given you the momentum to get into that England squad and team?
Absolutely. No disrespect to Bolton Wanderers or any of the other clubs that I’ve played at, but moving to a side that is playing Champions League football, and contending for the Premier League title, is what I needed to do to push my game on. I’ve learned so much from the other defenders at Chelsea, and I’ve picked up a lot of experience playing against some of the best forwards in the world. Hopefully that will hold me in good stead at a World Cup, because that is another step up for me. I feel ready.
England’s defence is one of its strengths. What has helped make them such a solid unit?
We have got some really good players in there, and there is a lot of competition for places, which is healthy. You’re always on your toes because if you aren’t playing at your 100% best, someone else is ready to take your place. And Roy Hodgson is an excellent coach. He knows what he wants from his defence and he makes that very clear for us.
You’re a Sheffield lad and grew up as a keen Wednesday supporter. Do you remember watching Des Walker for England?
He was my hero as a lad, one of the best England players ever. I saw him play so much for Wednesday and I tried to model my game on him. If I could ever be a patch on Des then I’d say I’d achieved my ambition as a footballer. He was the best marker and the best tackler you could ever see, and he was smart, so clever. He was quick but he got to the ball first because it was all in his head. I was only four when he was playing for England in 1990, but I remember him playing later on. I think he left international football too early, because he carried on being a sensational player for his clubs for a long, long time after he finished.
What attributes do you and Des have in common?
I think we’re both reasonably technical, we are both quite quick – although I’m not sure I’m as quick as Des – and we’re good tacklers. I score a few more than he does though.
How will you celebrate if you score in Brazil – have you got a special Samba dance planned, perhaps?
I’m not sure, but certainly no dancing! I’ll leave that to the Brazilians, I think. I think it’ll be such a good moment that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But hopefully my heading ability can be an asset for us this summer. England do well out of set pieces at World Cups, it is a strength we have, so it we can get the right delivery in to the box and from corners, some of the big lads will have the chance to get goals, for sure.
What have Oscar and David Luiz been telling you about a World Cup in their homeland Brazil, then?
They says it is going to be crazy, a festival like nothing you’ve ever seen, a carnival. I’m sure they are right, although us players won’t be getting involved in anything like that, we have to concentrate on something more important than partying! But they do say that the fans out there are like nothing you’ve ever experienced. The fans in England are very loud, and the Brazilian lads love the passion that our supporters show, but I think Brazil is something very different. It is religion out there, but they have real fun, too.
How do you fancy facing your Brazilian teammates in a knockout match, or the final at the Maracana?
England vs Brazil in Brazil – it couldn’t be any bigger or romantic, could it? I’d relish it. It is the sort of thing that comes around only once or twice in the life of a footballer, like a Champions League final, so I’d say bring it on. Everyone is going to fancy Brazil on their home turf, but we aren’t afraid of anyone.
Surely your Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho would nominate Portugal as having a chance, too…
I’m sure he would, he’s very proud of being Portuguese. The one thing I would say, and no disrespect to the current Portugal manager, is that I’m glad Jose isn’t Portugal boss, because he just has that magic touch. They have some very good players, but with him in charge – you’d fancy them to win the World Cup wouldn’t you? Just because of the Mourinho factor. He brings a fear factor and an organisation to every team he is in charge of. One day he’ll manage them and we’ll all have to look out.
Who else do you rate as title contenders?
Spain, Holland, Germany are the big ones along with Brazil. Argentina obviously have a shout if the rest of the team can play really well along with Messi. You’ve got to think the South American teams will have a big say in this tournament, the Uruguays and Ecuadors even. There are a lot of teams that can rise to the occasion, and I think England are one of them
You’ve become a dad recently, how has that affected you. Has it helped you settle down off the pitch?
Yes, my son is one now. It’s great fun and it’s great having a family, I feel very happy and settled. It’s a good way to relax after training and it does put everything in perspective. You’re playing for your family and you want to do them proud. My lad is a bit young to understand this tournament, but if I could have a DVD of England winning the World Cup to show him when he is a bit older, that would be quite something.
You’re a keen tweeter from @GaryJCahill. Will you be following what the fans are saying online during the tournament?
I will a bit. You don’t want to get too involved because it is all about staying focused on the job when you are out there. But I’m sure there will be one or two tweets when we are out there, in the jungle, no doubt!
Will you be thinking of the folk back in the pubs in Sheffield when you’re lining up, singing the national anthem?
Absolutely. That’s when you think of England. If I wasn’t wearing the England shirt out on the pitch, I’d be wearing one in the pub myself, cheering the lads on. That shirt, the Three Lions, means everything. The reason we are out there is to do the English public proud. I can only imagine the mayhem back home if we were to win a semi final or a final. It would go crazy. We are aware that we can make people’s dreams come true, and that’s what we hope to do. Let’s have a right good go.