Belfast Telegraph

England defender Gary Cahill has unfinished business at the Euros

Gary Cahill will go to next month's European Championship as one of England's most senior figures but has more reason than most to view the competition as unfinished business.

The 30-year-old Chelsea defender will wear the captain's armband during Sunday's warm-up friendly against Turkey, with regular skipper Wayne Rooney recovering from Manchester United's FA Cup win, and his tally of 41 caps is the fourth highest in a callow squad.

But the tournament in France will be his first Euro, having missed out in painful circumstances four years ago.

He had already been selected in Roy Hodgson's 23 for Poland and Ukraine when he was pushed in the back by Belgium's Dries Mertens during a friendly and broke his jaw in a collision with Joe Hart.

He would be forgiven for treading a little more carefully than most in the three warm-up matches this time around but insists he has moved on.

"It was one of those situations which was unfortunate for me but I don't think for one moment that he (Mertens) has thought 'I'm going to push this guy in the back and hopefully he'll break his jaw'," said Cahill.

"It was a huge blow for me as it was so close to going to the tournament but the past is the past and that is gone now.

"I just worry about what's in front of me now, about preparing for a major tournament. I think I've got a bit of experience now and I'm happy to be part of it."

While he does not dwell on his forced absence in 2012, Cahill does reflect on the disappointments suffered two years later at the World Cup in Brazil.

England failed to win a match, finishing bottom of their group, and those involved, like Cahill, have been seeking to banish those memories ever since.

"It should be a driver, certainly for me it is," he said.

"When things go not so well in your career, whether that be at a tournament or a game you don't play particularly well in, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth that you want to make it right.

"If you have a bad game in the Premier League you have the next week to make it right. That's the way I feel going into this tournament.

"I feel determined to go and make it as successful as we possibly can. And I think that's certainly the line from the people who were involved in the summer (in Brazil).

"The qualification games were our first chance to get back on the road and to produce 10 wins out of 10, to break a record...everybody involved should be proud of that, because it's a record.

"But ultimately you're judged when you go into the tournament."


From Belfast Telegraph