Cahill: A great signing

Gary Cahill believes Ross Barkley can achieve great things as a Chelsea player and is looking forward to meeting his new club team-mate for the first time in training today.

Having played alongside the midfielder for England, the Blues skipper is well aware of his talent and believes the Blues have conducted a shrewd piece of business.

‘I think it’s a great signing,’ said Cahill. ‘If you look at the market in this day and age, it’s a snip for a player like him. I’ve played with him and trained with him, so I know what he is capable of and so does everybody else.

‘He’s capable of whatever he wants. If you’re looking at attributes, has he got two good feet, is he strong, is he quick, can he finish, is he comfortable on the ball? He ticks all the boxes and now he’s just ready for a platform to go and express himself.

‘This club will give him that, like it did me and like it did for other players, and it’s down to him to go and take it. It’s a very exciting signing and for the money that’s been paid, it has to be a bargain.

‘He’s come at a great age, that’s another thing. I’d say come and be confident, but not arrogant. Come and listen and learn from the players at this football club, work hard at your game and you will progress.

‘He knows what he’s got to do – you’re talking about somebody who has got 20-odd England caps and a player who has played many, many games in the Premier League, even at such a young age.

‘I texted him before he came, he trained on Friday with some of the other lads and I’ll bump into him for the first time on Monday when we get back in.’

Reflecting on Saturday’s goalless draw in the FA Cup third round against Norwich, Cahill struggled to pinpoint the reason behind a below-par display from the Blues, particularly in the opening period.

‘It was a flat game,’ he said. ‘In the first half we were not ourselves – I just felt the tempo was down, like it was a bit off. It never felt like we were in a huge amount of difficulty or trouble, but the game just seemed to go by and it was finished. I think if we’d have started the first half the way we did the second, we would probably have won the game.

‘I thought the effort was there, especially in the second half when we tried and tried, but the first half was flat. Now we have a replay which we didn’t want – another game in what would have been our only half-break without a midweek match.’

By the end of January the Blues will have played 17 games since the start of December, rising to 18 if we progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.  

As a seasoned Premier League player, Cahill is used to a tough schedule at this time of year, but he believes an argument for a winter break has to be considered, especially when it comes to English sides competing in the latter stages of European competition.  

‘December and January is intense, but I’ve played in this league for ages so I know all about it,’ he said. ‘For the lads coming in [from other countries], it’s different, so that extra game on top is not ideal for us.

‘The amount of games we have at the minute is incredible. I think it’s an interesting debate because I’ve been involved in it for 10 years or whatever it is. I kind of reflect a bit more this year - when I’m looking at the players coming from overseas, and the schedule they have over Christmas, it makes you think a little bit.

‘Last year and the year before in the Champions League, the English teams struggled to get into the later rounds. Why do you think that might be? It’s not an excuse, it’s just a factor. When you look at what we do different [to other European leagues] we do that different.’

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