Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has admitted it’s ‘natural’ that he should be worried about his place in the Blues side after missing the last three games through suspension.
The 31-year-old, who was made Chelsea captain in the summer following the departure of John Terry, was sent off in the opening day defeat to Burnley at Stamford Bridge.
Summer signing Antonio Rudiger has filled in well for him since then, with Chelsea faring much better after that initial setback, winning each of their following three league matches.
Cahill is now aware that he isn’t guaranteed a place in the side when the current line up is getting results, but insists he is focused on the performances of the club as a whole.
The England international also feels he can still be a valuable presence at Stamford Bridge by being a leader off the pitch.
‘It’s natural (to worry),’ he said. ‘If you’re out the team, the team does well… I’m part of the squad and I’m an individual player.
‘I’m available for selection now and whenever you’re available you can influence things. It’s about the team. It’s about the team doing well.
‘You try to influence in the changing rooms. Nothing’s changed for me personally. It’s a great honour to be captain. It’s a responsibility.’
Chelsea are back in action in the Champions League tonight as they take on Qarabag at Stamford Bridge, and Cahill will be hoping Antonio Conte uses the game as an opportunity to rotate.
The Italian fielded the same starting XI for most games in the Premier League last season, but has admitted he’ll need to make use of his squad more this term due to being back in Europe.
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The Premier League champions have recovered from their opening day defeat against Burnley to record three consecutive victories ahead of Tuesday’s match against Qarabag at Stamford Bridge.
Despite having spent in excess of £150million on squad reinforcements over the summer, Conte insists Chelsea are not yet in a position to compete with fellow European heavyweights who have had the benefit of working together over a longer period.
‘For sure in the Champions League we are starting a path,’ he said.
‘Remember before winning a competition you need to work very hard and improve every year step by step, and arrive then to be ready for Real Madrid or Bayern Munich or Juventus.
‘You don’t create a big, strong team easily.
‘It’s a great competition and we must be proud to play it. We must understand we are starting a path.
‘I hope this path is short. We will try to be competitive in a short time and not wait three, four or five years.’
On Chelsea’s opposition, he added: ‘Qarabag are a good team. It’s the first time they’re playing this competition.
‘I know a lot of their players very well because I played against Azerbaijan in qualifying when I was Italy coach.
‘They have a lot of players who play for the national team.’