CHELSEA centre-back Gary Cahill admits he faces a fight to re-establish himself in the England starting line-up having missed Euro 2012 through injury.
Cahill featured regularly under Fabio Capello for England, who play in Moldova tomorrow and host Ukraine on Tuesday, but now faces competition for his place from John Terry, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka.
“I think me not making the Euros has made this harder in one way,” he said. “I thought the lads did really well at the Euros so for me not being able to stamp my authority in that tournament has come back and made it another fight for me to try to get back involved and get the starting place. There’s great competition and Jags [Jagielka] scored against Italy, Joleon had a great Euros and JT [Terry] is obviously well known and proven for many years.”
Cahill also backed his Chelsea team-mate Daniel Sturridge, who is currently out of favour at Stamford Bridge but in the England squad, to shine on the international stage.
“Everyone knows about the talent that Daniel has and how sharp and dangerous he can be,” he added. “It’s great to see him here after missing the [Italy game] through injury and he’s been lively in training over the last few days.”
Left-back Leighton Baines, meanwhile, believes that there is less tension among the England squad under Hodgson than during the Capello reign. “He’s definitely relaxed us all and there’s been a shift in people’s mentality,” he said.
England centre-back options
John Terry (Age: 31; Caps: 77)
Stalwart but increasingly injury prone
Joleon Lescott (Age: 30; Caps: 21)
Good foil for stoppers like Terry/Cahill
Phil Jagielka (Age: 30; Caps: 13)
Very reliable but age not on his side
Gary Cahill (Age: 26; Caps: 10)
Has shone but missed Euros with injury
Phil Jones (Age: 20; Caps: 5)
Versatile youngster currently injured
Chris Smalling (Age: 22; Caps: 3)
Future prospect and can play full-back
Rio Ferdinand (Age: 33; Caps: 81)
Stint appears over after Euros snub