Gary Cahill believes our summer on the road will prove useful for the squad’s team spirit, and is excited to meet our many Asian fans this month.
The England defender signed from Bolton Wanderers in January 2012, quickly settling in and playing a huge role in our Champions League success in Munich, partnering David Luiz in the centre of defence in John Terry’s absence.
He attributed his quick adaptation to life as a Chelsea player to the mid-season break to Mallorca under Andre Villas-Boas, and believes new signings can benefit from the close-knit environment of squad trips such as this summer’s pre-season tour of Asia, which takes in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
‘I signed just before we went to Mallorca,’ recalled the 27-year-old. ‘I hadn’t even played a game and so was quite quiet, I only knew a couple of the lads from England duty, but you quickly come out of your shell and become confident enough to speak to people and mix in.
‘It’s good when you’re away to spend as much time with the other lads as possible, you really get to know people when you’re training together, eating together and relaxing together, and it helps form a strong team spirit.’
Cahill now looks ahead to a busy summer with a new manager, at least one new signing in Andre Schurrle and three new destinations. He is yet to experience the adulation of our Asian fans, having missed out 2011 Here to Play, Here to Stay tour by a matter of months.
‘I loved going to America last summer and look forward to visiting again in August, but first we go to Asia and I know it’s going to be like nothing else,’ he said.
‘I’ve not been out there yet but people tell me that Chelsea are really popular. It’s incredible that so many people not only take an interest in the Premier League but also Chelsea as a club. We’re playing three games at the beginning of our season, and I really hope we’re able to put on a good show.
‘These matches are only friendly games and the result doesn’t matter, but we all want to impress the manager and get into a winning habit as quickly as we can. If we can get that right then hopefully we can start the season strongly.’
Tickets for our pre-season matches in Bangkok on 17 July, Kuala Lumpur on 21 July and Jakarta on 25 July are now on sale. Click on the city names for details.