Gary Cahill is the cover interviewee in the latest edition of Chelsea magazine, sharing his thoughts on defensive responsibilities and playing against the world’s best strikers.
The 27-year-old is currently out of action as he recovers from a knee injury but he has enjoyed plenty of success since making the switch from Bolton Wanderers in January 2012, winning the Champions League, playing his part in a triumphant FA Cup run and also featuring regularly for England.
As is required from the modern-day defender, he is comfortable in possession, technically sound and reads the game well, and in the latest edition of the club’s official magazine he discusses attributes needed at the top level.
‘I think a lot of top defenders over the years have shown there is a lot of anticipation and sniffing out danger involved,’ he tells Chelsea.
‘There is that moment where you feel someone is going to take a shot and you’re in the right position to try and make a block, so I would say there is an element of anticipation and instinct to it.
‘You’ve got an idea of where you should be in certain situations, because you have played there for so many years, but you should never think about that too much because you don’t know how the game is going to pan out, especially with the top players that we play against, who do stuff off the cuff that is unexpected.’
In the interview Cahill also speaks about his role requiring more than a knack of being in the right place at the right time.
‘If you play at the top level, you’re expected to do more things than you would be at a lower level – and I can speak for both because I have played at Championship level and at international level,’ he says.
‘You are expected to do more of the all-round things when you play at a high level, not just defending but bringing it out and getting on the ball.
‘Sometimes you can’t do that, and the main thing becomes trying to get your blocks in, win your headers and get yourself in the right positions.’
One of the major differences between competing for Bolton and playing for Chelsea is having the opportunity to test himself on the European stage.
The Champions League and Europa League have enabled Cahill to pit his wits against many top strikers, and it’s the type of challenge he looks to embrace.
‘If you are marking someone like that, I think you should be buzzing – on a high – because it can give you an extra edge to your game if you see everybody talking about him and saying he is expected to do this and do that,’ he tells Chelsea. ‘It is an extra spur to think you want to limit his chances.
‘These guys are spoken about because they are top players, so I think that just makes you raise your game a little bit.
‘If you play well and you get a clean sheet, or you feel like you’ve marked him and he’s not really had any chances or caused you any problems, that is the main satisfaction you get from playing centre-back. You want to come off the pitch feeling that your opponent has not had a sniff and you’ve coped with him really well.’
Elsewhere in Chelsea, this month’s Football Men features Ryan Bertrand citing the individuals who have helped shape his career, including a current Premier League manager, the head of our Academy and the man who first played him at left-back while he was a youngster at Gillingham.
As a star of our side in the latter part of the 1990s, Frank Leboeuf helped us to FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup glory. The former France international is the subject of this month’s Boys are Back in Town feature, where he recalls his reasons for joining the club, his partnership with Marcel Desailly and the similarities between Gianfranco Zola and Lionel Messi.
Madness frontman Suggs has made no secret of his love for the Blues over the years, and in One of Us he reflects on his most memorable moments as a Chelsea supporter, including travelling home and away in the 1970s, watching Alan Hudson and Peter Osgood terrorise defences and his feelings on the band’s hit One Step Beyond becoming a celebratory anthem for the club.
We are now only a few weeks away from the revealing of our new kits for the 2013/14 season, and Chelsea went behind the scenes as members of the squad were drenched in blue paint for the promotional campaign, the results of which can be seen in the latest magazine.
The latest edition of Chelsea is priced £3.25 and is available from all good newsagents and the Megastore now.