As the clock ticked down to 11pm on transfer deadline day last week, Gary Cahill remained a Bolton Wanderers player but England's new goalscoring centre-half has admitted that his lack of Champions League experience may cost him an international place.
Cahill, 25, who scored England's first goal in the 3-0 defeat of Bulgaria on Friday said yesterday that he was happy with Bolton and committed to the club after bids for him from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur failed to materialise on Wednesday – but that ultimately it would be playing in Europe for his club that would be telling.
Cahill said: "Generally when players are playing Champions League and you are not then the experience they are going to have over you is going to count. If people say it is not they are lying. At the minute there is nothing I can do about that. I just keep playing football and enjoying it. I enjoy it at Bolton, have enjoyed my time.
"You see the speculation in the press, but until something happens, nothing can change. You go through that and it does make you realise how fortunate you are to play football. I like to go out and forget everything that is going on and play with a smile on my face.
"There's nothing I can do. When the window shut it was a case of focussing and carrying on playing for Bolton. They have given me great opportunities. No doubt the speculation will go on but I've had speculation for probably a year and a half. It gets a little bit tiring after a while, to be honest.
"All I can do is put my performances in for Bolton. You see the manager and the [England] staff coming and watching the games and if they are not impressed they won't carry on picking me. So it's down to me."
Cahill was a relatively late addition to Aston Villa's academy – whom he played for until Bolton signed him in 2008 – and was still playing Sunday League football until the age of 15 for AFC Dronfield in north Derbyshire. "I was playing Sunday League and a few scouts came down there. I got trial at the end of the season with three or four clubs and ended up picking Villa.
"My progression since is massive but I've still got loads more to learn. That mainly comes from playing first-team football but at the time I wasn't getting as many opportunities as I hoped. For me it's all about playing. The more time you play the more you improve."Reuse content