Sheffield United: Blades old boys on Rio road

World Cup star Gary Cahill back at United in 2007
World Cup star Gary Cahill back at United in 2007
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Former Sheffield United defender Gary Cahill insists he and fellow ex-Blade Phil Jagielka can cope with the demands they will face at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Barring illness or injury, the duo are expected to form England’s centre-half pairing for the tournament - the first in 12 years where neither John Terry or Rio Ferdinand are available.

But England have not lost one of the 10 games in which Jagielka and Cahill have started together, and the Dronfield-born Chelsea defender said: “I remember playing with Phil the first time and people were talking about the fact that Rio has gone and JT has gone.

“But, over time, our partnership has got stronger and stronger and better.

“We had a run of seven consecutive starts together last year and I thought that went well. We have got a better understanding, a better partnership together when we have played in these games.

“More importantly we have not conceded too many goals so that is pleasing and I hope that continues if we are paired together in Brazil.

“As a team we only conceded four goals in qualifying. That’s a strong record and it’s something we should be proud of as a team.”

Cahill made 18 appearances for United in a loan spell from Aston Villa in 2007/08, before making a £5 million switch to Bolton and a subsequent £7m move to Stamford Bridge. Jagielka, meanwhile, came through the ranks at Bramall Lane and made almost 300 starts for the club, before a £4m move to Everton in 2007.