The weekend interview part two: Gary Cahill

In the second part of our interview with Gary Cahill, the defender looks back on the World Cup and anticipates a thrilling Premier League season ahead.

After the major disappointment of missing out on EURO 2012 because of an unfortunate injury setback suffered just a couple of weeks before that tournament began, Gary Cahill headed to Brazil for this summer’s World Cup full of hope and expectation.

Unfortunately, despite some solid performances from our defender, England’s tournament didn’t go as planned as the Three Lions failed to progress beyond the group stage. It is understandable, then, that Cahill has no desire to dwell on that early elimination. What he is able to do, however, is draw on that negative episode and attempt to use it to his advantage in the future.

‘To be brutally honest it was a horrible experience and one I never want to feel again,’ states the 26-year-old. ‘But not every experience can be good.

‘You can try and take things from it, like the feeling you had in your mouth when you left that tournament, or maybe little tweaks in preparation that you might do yourself.

‘It was my first experience of a tournament, of going away and playing in a hot climate. All these things put together form important experience and things I can learn from for hopefully the next time I’m a part of something like that.’

Cahill will have plenty of opportunities to create more positive memories in the months ahead, with Chelsea expected to challenge on four different fronts this year.

‘I’m excited for the start of the season and I’m excited for the group of players that we have here,’ he says. ‘I feel as hungry as I ever have been.

‘We have got a young squad with very good players in it. The nature of football is that players grow older and move on. We have had some legends that have just left the club so they’re big shoes to fill for any player coming in, but we have made some very, very good additions to what was already a strong squad.

‘The Premier League is so competitive now. Every year squads seem to improve. You look at who could win the league this season and you probably have six or seven teams that could realistically do it. It’s going to be tight and for the neutral I’m sure it’s going to be great. I’m confident we will be up there challenging.’

The early signs look good, with Monday’s 3-1 win at Burnley getting the season off to an excellent start. We have a chance to pick up three more points today in our first home fixture of 2014/15, against Leicester City.

Our last meeting with the Foxes was back in March 2012, a 5-2 FA Cup win at Stamford Bridge. Cahill marked the occasion with a goal (pictured top), his first since moving to SW6 a couple of months earlier.

‘You always remember a moment like that,’ he smiles. ‘I remember scoring in the Cup against them. It wasn’t a particularly great time because it was the day after Fabrice Muamba collapsed [with a heart problem in a game at Tottenham] on the pitch, and so football was in huge shock at the time at what was going on.

‘If I take that away, though, it was my first Chelsea goal, something I’ll be proud of and never forget.’