There is likely to be no shortage of Chelsea players in action when England and Belgium begin their respective World Cup qualifiers on Friday evening.
Ahead of those games, Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard are hoping a winning start to their club’s domestic league campaign stands them in good stead to represent their nations well.
Cahill is one of five Blues in the England party travelling to Moldova today, with Ashley Cole possibly recovering from an ankle injury in time for a meeting with Ukraine on Tuesday at Wembley.
The central defender has his own fresh memories of missing England games having been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a broken jaw, suffered in a match against the Belgians, but he returned to the international fold for last month’s friendly victory against Italy when he was partnered for the first hour by Everton’s Phil Jagielka, and then by Man City’s Joleon Lescott.
John Terry, not included in that experimental squad, has recovered from the neck injury that ruled him out of Chelsea’s last league game, increasing Roy Hodgson’s selection possibilities in central defence.
‘It is great to be back involved and now I have the battle to squeeze in the team,’ said Cahill on his England call-up.
‘We have two games coming up now and I am sure whoever is selected will do a good job. It is helpful that John and I know each other’s game and it seems to have gone reasonably well when we have played together for club and country, but I thought Joleon had a great Euros and Phil Jagielka has come in and scored against Italy this season.
‘The competition is strong and that is only healthy. There is a good spirit in the team, great belief and confidence and fresh players such as Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand, and [Man United midfielder] Tom Cleverley have come in which is also great.’
The August international friendlies may have come too early in the season for many people’s likings but mid-September is a more traditional time for players to be asked to perform for their countries.
‘The lads have all played a few games at the start of the season so everyone is fit and ready to go,’ Cahill said.
‘We started really well at Chelsea, the new players have settled in and their performances on the pitch have proved that.
‘The game in Monaco is behind us now and we are coming into these international games with confidence.’
One of the new players Cahill referred to is Hazard who faces a match in Wales on Friday.
‘It is said Belgium has a great generation, it is now up to us to prove it on the pitch by winning matches and qualifying for the 2014 World Cup,’ said the attacking midfielder who admits he needs to replicate club form more often on the international stage.
‘I know it must be better, but I’m only 21 and still have much to learn. Success will come.’