Making debut is daunting says Dronfield’s Gary Cahill

England's Gary Cahill during a press conference at St George's Park, Burton Upon Trent.
England's Gary Cahill during a press conference at St George's Park, Burton Upon Trent.
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Dronfield-born Gary Cahill cannot imagine the pressure those breaking into the England team must be feeling given the post-World Cup “doom and gloom”.

While they approached the summer more in hope than expectation, few, if any, foresaw Roy Hodgson’s side returning home on the back of the Three Lions’ worst ever display on the world stage.

That disappointment was underlined on Wednesday when the international friendly against Norway attracted only 40,181 - the lowest attendance for a Wembley international since the stadium’s reopening in 2007.

An uninspiring 1-0 win meant it was a tepid start to what has been widely dubbed a new era, with the England’s inexperience highlighted by the fact Cahill, who began his career playing for the AFC Dronfield youth set-system in Derbyshire, was the second most-capped player outfield starter.

It was just the Chelsea defender’s 28th cap and, while he can understand the national mood, hopes the young players are given time.

“When I made my debut, I came in with loads of really experienced players and now we’ve young lads making debuts off the back of the summer, which was disappointing for us,” Cahill said.

“In terms of pressure, I felt pressure when I made my debut so the pressure them young lads must be under at the minute [must be tough] with the so-called doom and gloom around.

“I just tell everyone to be patient and support the young lads who are coming in now because it’s a difficult time to come in. They’ve come in and done really well.”

Cahill’s importance to the team was highlighted on Wednesday by the fact Wayne Rooney handed him in the armband when he was substituted.

That, he insists, does not mean he has been made vice-captain, although the centre-back knows he has an important role to play.

“I realise that I am one of the more experienced or older lads in the team now, along with a few others that can pass on experience,” Cahill said.

“What is leadership? Is it shouting at everyone every two minutes or is it trying to be in the right position, trying to lead by example as some of the players do?

“I think more and more of the young lads in this group will become more vocal. I think football in general you have to be vocal when you’re playing.”

Assuming he overcomes an ankle complaint, Cahill will play a key role in England’s European Championship qualifying opener in Switzerland.

The 28-year-old sat out England training on Friday with an ankle complaint, but was quick to downplay fears over his fitness - a boost given Daniel Sturridge has been ruled out of Monday’s game.

“I’m all right,” Cahill said. “I’ve got a bit of fluid on my ankle which they thought would be better rested today. I’ll be training tomorrow. I should be fine.”