England vs Slovenia: Gary Cahill fit to start after overcoming 'minor hip thing' in attempt to maintain clean sheet record

England have not conceded in their last five games and Cahill has confirmed he will be fit to try and extend that run

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The Independent Online

Gary Cahill has confirmed he will be fit to face Slovenia in Saturday's Euro 2016 qualifier at Wembley.

The Chelsea central defender was one of five players to miss training on Tuesday afternoon as a precaution but will be ready to line up in the Group E clash.

"It's just a minor hip thing," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "It's no problem. I should be training tomorrow, hopefully, and then ready to go and prepare for the weekend."

The Three Lions have won their first three group games without conceding a goal, taking their run of clean sheets to five and Cahill believes that defensive stability is the result of a team effort.

 

"Five clean sheets now; it's something that we're really proud of from the third game in the World Cup onwards, something we're pleased with," he said.

"As a group we felt that we needed to tighten up after the summer. Leading up to the World Cup we did well but the crunch games were obviously the summer.

"We've come under a little bit of criticism so it was important we tightened that up."

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Cahill has recovered from a knock to his hip in time to face Slovenia

He added: "Everyone has bought into the way we want to play, we've changed the shape slightly, I think that's worked really well for us.

"It's not just the back four and the goalkeeper, we've got players that work really hard in front of us and that's always important no matter how you set up the team. You need everyone to chip in defensively."

England captain Wayne Rooney will win his 100th cap on Saturday at the age of just 29 and Cahill has backed the Manchester United striker to beat Peter Shilton's record of 125.

"He's fit, he looks after himself, he trains really hard, I can't see why not," he said. "He's relatively young.

He added: "He's a world class player, you've seen that over many years. You look at how old he is, to be coming up to 100 caps at such a relatively young age is phenomenal. He can go on for many many years.

"I don't want to jinx him but I'm sure he can break all the records.

"He's a fantastic player and a fantastic achievement, I'm sure on Saturday he will be very proud and the achievement is amazing."

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Rooney is set to win his 100th cap for England

Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne says he is ready to make his international debut whether it comes against Slovenia on Saturday or next week in Scotland.

Clyne was named in the England squad for Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia in October and was an unused substitute for both matches, but he hopes to go one better in the next seven days.

He said: "I'm ready for it and getting ready. I've prepared myself, (be it) against Slovenia or Scotland, I'll get myself ready for the game.

"It (the call-up) shows that I'm getting credit for the good performances that I've been putting on display and I've been given my chance now and I'm going to make it count.

"It's brilliant for me to come here and play amongst the lads and be in the international side. I know a lot of the players here at the moment that have helped me settle in well and I'm looking forward to playing in the games."

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Clyne is hoping to win his first cap after impressing for Southampton

Clyne echoed Cahill's thoughts on England's defensive improvements since the summer.

He said: "If you see the last results, we kept a lot of clean sheets and looked very solid in defence and also looked very good going forward.

"It's definitely been a good run of games since the World Cup and we're looking to add to that."

And he believes Hodgson's side can maintain their winning streak throughout their qualifying campaign, adding: "Yeah, I think we can do - we're playing so well at the moment and we've got the players to do that so I believe we can pull it off."

The 23-year-old has impressed this term with the Saints second in the Premier League and enjoying a five-match winning run in all competitions.

Clyne believes he can use that winning mentality as he looks to make his first appearance for England.

He said: "We're on a good run of form....we're playing well and I'm taking this confidence into national side."

As for the battle with former club-mate Calum Chambers for the right-back role, he added: "It's always good to have competition, it keeps you on your toes and we get the best out of each other.

"If he's there I've got to do even better and that's what I'm going to try to do."

Clyne reiterated Cahill's sentiments on captain Rooney, and believes the former Everton striker has set down a benchmark for other young players that are forcing their way into the national set-up.

West Brom's Saido Berahino was called up for the first time, named in Hodgson's squad alongside fellow starlets Chambers, Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling.

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Berahino has been included in the England squad for the first time

Clyne said: "He's (Wayne Rooney) been fantastic, since he got into the team from a young age he's done ever so well.

"He's now captaining the nation and he's a good skipper and he's looking to get his 100th cap and he's getting the goals as well which is good.

"There's a lot of young players out there pushing to get into the team. Young lads are always good to have in the team and they're doing well as well."

PA

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