The weekend interview part one: Gary Cahill

Despite beginning the campaign as a first-choice selection for club and country, Gary Cahill knows he must maintain the very high standards he set last season if he is to keep hold of his starting berth in the heart of our defence.

It is testament to the 26-year-old’s desire to keep bettering his own game that he is unwilling to rest on his laurels after an outstanding 2013/14 campaign, when he was a vital cog in the Premier League’s meanest defence.

Now, as he begins his third full season in west London, Cahill explains to the official Chelsea website what he is hoping for from his own performances in the future.

‘I think I’m at an age now where I need to be trying to impose myself as a bit more of a leader,’ he says. ‘In terms of my game I want to keep pushing on and try and help the team achieve what we want to achieve this season.

‘You don’t really think about when you reach your peak, or say “this is going to be my peak season”, but I think I’m at an age where though I’m not necessarily old in football terms, I’m not a young player any more. I’ve got experience under my belt.

‘I would hope the next three or four years are going to be my better years with lots of highlights. They’re ones I’m looking forward to, but in football you can never stop learning and improving.

‘I looked at what I did last season and I was pleased with that. There are a couple of things in my game, that I keep to myself, where personally I think I can maybe do a little bit better in, so I want to try and work on them this season as well.’

The options available to Jose Mourinho at the centre of his defence have been bolstered this summer by the arrival of Kurt Zouma - who had returned to St-Etienne on loan having joined the Blues in January - and Andreas Christensen, an 18-year-old centre-back promoted from the Academy.

With club captain John Terry and the versatile Branislav Ivanovic also possibilities for a spot in the centre of our defence, Cahill is aware the competition for places is as fierce as it’s been since he moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2012.

‘It’s a nice blend,’ says Cahill as he assesses the centre-backs at the club. ‘We’ve got Branislav who we all know can play there very well and of course JT. They’re both slightly older than me. Then I’m sort of in the middle and then there are the two younger lads.

‘Kurt has been playing first team football for a while now so he’s got that experience under his belt. Andreas is a very good player and I feel he has an exciting future ahead of him, for sure. I’ve seen him train with us quite a few times now and he looks a real class act and someone who will certainly develop.

‘It’s up to me to try and keep hold of the shirt. There are two younger lads chomping at the bit to play, and two more senior lads that have done more than me in the game. Everyone is aware of the competition at this club so I feel no complacency whatsoever. I need to keep pushing hard, keep trying to improve my game and improve on what I did last season.’

Return for part two tomorrow when Cahill discusses what he has learned from his World Cup experience, the competitive nature of this season's Premier League, and his very first goal for the club, scored against tomorrow’s opponents Leicester City.