Chelsea & Gary Cahill
It’s not been the best week for Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.
Cahill was dropped by Antonio Conte in midweek for the Champions League match against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
The UCL last-16 first-leg finished 1-1. After Willian opened for the Blues, a couple of errors in the Chelsea back four gifted Leo Messi and leveller.
After the game Conte was asked about whether, in light of the defensive mistakes, was dropping Cahill a mistake?
The Italian’s answer said a lot: “No, no, no, no, absolutely not, no no no no.”
Gary Cahill faces England axe
According to the Times on Thursday, Gary Cahill’s place in the England squad this summer is now under major threat.
Forget about Cahill starting for the Three Lions in Russia this summer. Will he even be on the plane?
The Times report that that Gareth Southgate has been worried about Cahill ever since he gave away “soft free kicks and gave away possession in last June’s 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw with Scotland at Hampden Park”.
Cahill’s current form, plus the form of his rivals, means the Chelsea centre-half may end up watching the World Cup on his sofa.
Leicester & Liverpool defenders
In total the Times name nine defenders who are challenging Cahill for a spot in the England squad.
The list makes good reading for fans of Leicester, Liverpool, Burnley and even Brighton.
When it came to name defenders more certain than Cahill to be in Southgate’s final squad, the Times announced:
John Stones, of Manchester City, Manchester United’s Phil Jones and Harry Maguire, of Leicester City, have overtaken him in Southgate’s pecking order.
So who are Cahill’s direct competition? The Times continued:
Eric Dier, of Tottenham Hotspur, is viewed as a potential centre half by Southgate, while Liverpool’s Joe Gomez impressed in friendlies against Germany and Brazil last November.
Michael Keane remains in contention despite struggling since moving to Everton last summer and Burnley’s James Tarkowski and Ben Mee have been scouted regularly by Southgate this season, as has Lewis Dunk, of Brighton & Hove Albion.