England vs Moldova: Gary Cahill thinks Mourinho's management at Chelsea can make him a Three Lions stalwart

Alex Livesey

Gary Cahill believes Jose Mourinho can turn him into the leader of England’s defensive line.

Chelsea centre-back Cahill admitted he was like a bear with a sore head after being embarrassed by Kenny Miller’s goal for Scotland at Wembley last month.

While Roy Hodgson conceded Cahill had made an error, he insisted the former Bolton man and Phil Jagielka were his current first-choice pairing, although under pressure from Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

But with Mourinho having started the 27-year-old in all four of games so far this season, Cahill is convinced the Jose factor will help make it easy for Hodgson to keep on selecting him for .

Cahill, set to earn his 17th cap against Moldova at Wembley on Friday, said: “As a manager, he has certainly worked with the best and seen the best.

“I am sure he can improve the team and also individually improve players because he has worked with the best players in the world.

“Obviously, he likes you to work hard. Training is intense and he there is a certain expectation level he has got and that rubs off on the players.

“For him to have picked me at the start of the season has been a real positive and I hope I can take all of that into England.”

Cahill admitted he is still learning from Blues skipper John Terry, a man whose international retirement, alongside that of Rio Ferdinand, opened the door for the new order to stake their claims.

So far, as Cahill conceded, he has not nailed down that starting slot he craves.

“It would be ideal to be confirmed as first choice, it’s what you aim for, and what the manager said last month was flattering,” added Cahill.

“I know it’s a transitional period. John and Rio had their positions for many years and were both two top class performers. So when they went there was always going to be a void and question marks.

“The more games I get, the more it will help me. I’ve been settling in and feel I can play a big part.

“That happened at Chelsea and I’m hoping it will happen for the national team. There are people challenging, as there always will be but it gives me confidence that I’ve played in the last few games.”

A confidence that was not dimmed by Miller’s turn and finish, even if Cahill recognised he had to ensure it was not repeated.

“I think the criticism was fair, probably,” conceded Cahill. “But I didn’t need anybody else criticising me to know that – I was there.

 

“It’s never going to be the case that every time you go out you will keep a clean sheet and make no mistakes. It’s about limiting those mistakes because as a defender you know you will get punished for them.

“My family would probably say I beat myself up after things like that, although, in the game, I don’t think it affects me. You have to get on with the match.

“At the time I have to deal with it as if nothing’s happened but if something happens like that, of course it hurts.

“You look at what you can do to improve on it. I’ve not had to watch videos of it. I just replay it in my head.

“You know straight away when you have made a mistake. The aim is to limit those mistakes. I think I have done that.”

In 18 months at Chelsea, of course, Cahill has won both the European Cup and Europa League, experiences he feels he can take onto the international stage.

Cahill said: “We have had friendlies and they were important in their own right but now the pressure is on.

“We’re expected to go out and perform and have got to get results but I feel the experience of those big games has seen me improve.

“We all realise it’s serious now. These are the games now that really matter. Everyone wants to get to the World Cup at the end of this season, so to do that we need wins.

“Yes there is pressure but I look around and see big characters and players who have played in massive games, whether it to win a title or a final.

“But we are confident. The onus and pressure is on us but we need to go out and perform.”

How Group H stands

Montenegro  7  4  2  1  14   7   14

England        6   3 3  0  21   3   12

Ukraine        6   3  2 1  10   4   11

Poland          6  2  3  1  12   7    9

Moldova       7  1  2  4    4  11   5

San Marino   6  0  0  6   0   29   0

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