Gary Cahill has told Sky Sports of his frustrations with Chelsea this season, both in terms of his own limited playing time and the team’s disappointing performances.
The England defender was named club captain by Antonio Conte following last season’s Premier League title win but has only made 25 appearances in the league this season, and was benched for some crunch clashes since the turn of the year against Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham and both legs of the Champions League defeat to Barcelona.
And in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves, Cahill admitted that has been difficult to deal with.
“It’s been tough for a number of reasons,” he said.
“It’s frustrating for any player who isn’t playing because you want to be out there playing.
I’ve been lucky in my career to play the majority of times at the clubs I’ve been at, so to miss out on games, especially massive games, is obviously frustrating.
“It’s difficult to impact as much as you would like to. Maybe you can impact in training and in the dressing room, but the business end is to impact in the games, especially big games.
The frustration when you’re not playing is that you can’t do that.
“It’s been hard, but we are talking about weeks rather than months.
It’s not like I’ve been out of the team for five or six months, but in those weeks the games have been huge and I’ve missed some really big ones.
“This year my numbers are low for appearances and the only other time for Chelsea was when we finished 10th.
In all the other seasons I’ve played around the 35-mark and I’ve been very, very successful.
“It’s something I’ve not been used to and for sure it’s been frustrating.
“I wouldn’t say I deal with it well, but not in terms of showing it. I think it would be bad of me and would be unprofessional to show that in training and in the group.
“If you ask the rest of the players they wouldn’t notice much of a difference, but in terms of me, inside and my goals as well as the team’s goals, it’s hard to take.
“That’s what drives you. I wouldn’t have had the career I’ve had if I could accept the fact I’d be sat on the bench. All you have to do is work even harder to get back out there.”
Cahill has made 58 appearances for England, including eight of their qualifiers for the summer’s World Cup, but was overlooked by Gareth Southgate for the friendlies with Netherlands and Italy in March.
But after featuring in Chelsea’s last four matches he has vowed to prove himself worthy of World Cup selection.
“When I missed out on the last squad it was very disappointing for me,” he added.
“At that moment in time, I wasn’t playing, which I felt had consequences. That’s been and gone and now I need to get out there and get back playing.
“My form is better and where it should be now and the rest is out of my hands. I’ve been in the set-up with England for seven or eight years and I played the majority of the qualifying games to get to this tournament.
“It would be unfortunate if I missed out, but it’s out of my hands.”