England's vice-captain and Wanderers' last Three Lions international gets the Euro Whites treatment
In the penultimate edition for Euro Whites, bwfc.co.uk profile the current England vice-captain and Wanderers' last Three Lions international after they suffered a disappointed round-of-16 exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland.
47 CAPS 3 GOALS
European Championships: 1 (EURO 2016)
Best Stage Reached: ROUND-OF-16
Tournament Appearances: 4
Tournament Goals: 0
The first Bolton Wanderers player to represent England since Michael Ricketts, and the first to score for the Three Lions since Ray Parry in 1959, Gary Cahill’s international career has flourished in recent seasons despite this summer’s disappointing European Championships.
Appointed England vice-captain by Roy Hodgson following the international retirements of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard after the 2014 World Cup, the defender was an ever-present in France at the Three Lions suffered a disappointing round-of-16 exit at the hands of Iceland.
Coming through the ranks at Aston Villa, he enjoyed loan stints with Burnley and Sheffield United before moving to Bolton in January 2008.
Cahill immediately cemented his place in the heart of the Whites’ defence, as shown by helping keep a clean sheet on his European debut for the club in only his third Trotters appearance as they famously beat Atletico Madrid at the Reebok Stadium.
Helping to shore up Wanderers’ defence as they narrowly avoided relegation, the defender’s form the following year saw him crowned the club’s Players’ Player of the Year, as well as earning him a maiden international call-up at the end of the season.
Handed his debut by Fabio Capello little over a year later, Cahill came on as a substitute as the Three Lions opened their Euro 2012 qualification campaign with a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria at Wembley.
His first start quickly followed in a friendly against Ghana in March 2011, while the defender returned to Wembley the following month at club-level, ultimately enduring a day to forget as Wanderers suffered an FA Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Stoke City.
A potent attacking threat for the Whites despite his defensive instincts, Cahill soon replicated this for England in the return fixture against Bulgaria as he marked his first competitive Three Lions start with a maiden international goal, later helping them qualify for Euro 2012 with an unbeaten record.
The defender signed for Chelsea in January 2012 and would end his first few months with the club as a Champions League winner, returning from injury after missing the Blues’ FA Cup Final victory over Liverpool to start as they beat Bayern Munich on penalties to lift the trophy for the first time.
Now partnering John Terry in defence for both club and country, Cahill looked set to be first choice for England at Euro 2012 after being included in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
However, the defender suffered a broken jaw in the Three Lions’ final warm-up game following a clash with Dries Mertens, and was forced to miss the tournament through injury as a result, with Martin Kelly being called up in his place.
Cahill’s place in Hodgson’s starting XI went to Joleon Lescott, who scored in England’s opening draw against France, as the Three Lions qualified for the knockout stages courtesy of victories over both Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine before being knocked out on penalties by Italy in the quarter-finals.
Returning to the England squad following the tournament, he finished the 2012/13 season as a Europa League winner with Chelsea before helping England qualify for the 2014 World Cup with another unbeaten record.
One of only two players to be an ever-present for the Three Lions in Brazil, it proved to be a tournament to forget for England as they suffered a group-stage exit, losing to Italy and Uruguay before drawing their final match with Costa Rica.
Named England vice-captain following the tournament, Cahill finished the Three Lions’ first match following the tournament with the armband in a friendly victory over Norway.
A Premier League and League Cup double winner with Chelsea in 2014/15, the defender captained his country from the start for the first time in their Euro 2016 qualifying victory over Estonia, while also helping England qualify for the tournament with a 100% winning record.
Following a disappointing season with Chelsea in 2015/16, he also captained the Three Lions in the absence of Rooney for their 3-2 comeback victory over world champions Germany in March 2016 and first Euro 2016 warm-up game over Turkey.
Sitting out England’s second friendly against Australia because of injury, Cahill returned for their final warm-up game against would-be finalists Portugal to cement his place in Hodgson’s squad.
An ever-present in France, the defender completed the full 90 minutes in all of England’s matches as they suffered another disappointing early exit.
Opening the tournament against Russia, Cahill finished the match as captain after Rooney was substituted with England looking to preserve a 1-0 lead thanks to Eric Dier’s free-kick.
However, they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils as Vasili Berezutski headed home a stoppage-time equaliser for the Russians.
Coming from behind to beat Wales 2-1 in their next game thanks to former Wanderers loanee Daniel Sturridge’s last-minute winner, having seen Jamie Vardy cancel out Gareth Bale’s opener, Cahill then captained England against Slovakia in their final group game as they fought out a 0-0 draw.
Finishing as runners-up behind eventual semi-finalists Wales, England were handed a seemingly straight-forward round-of-16 clash with Iceland.
But despite taking an early lead through Rooney’s penalty, goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson saw England suffer an embarrassing exit as the defender again finished the game with the armband, with Hodgson standing down following the tournament.
One of England’s most senior players, Cahill will be looking to bounce back as he nears his half-century of caps as the Three Lions now look to put past disappointments behind them ahead of their 2018 Russia World Cup qualification campaign starting against Slovakia in September.
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