World Cup 2014: Gary Cahill says partnership with Phil Jagielka is strong enough

The pair are expected to be handed the centre-back berths for England

Gary Cahill insists his partnership with Phil Jagielka will be strong enough to stand the test of World Cup football.

For the first time in 12 years England head to a major tournament without the services of either John Terry or Rio Ferdinand.

Being Roy Hodgson's first-choice pairing, Cahill and Jagielka will be charged with the responsibility of stepping into the shoes of two of the best England centre-backs in recent memory.

Hodgson has every right to feel confident about the partnership. In the 10 games Cahill and Jagielka have started together, England have not lost a game.

Providing the Uruguayan recovers from a knee injury, England will come up against one of the world's best strikers in Luis Suarez next month.

But Cahill insists he and Jagielka will be ready to stop anything that comes their way in Brazil.

The Chelsea defender, who was speaking on behalf of Vauxhall the England Team Sponsor, 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."

 

Suarez is expected to be fit for Uruguay's second Group D match against England on June 19 despite having knee surgery last week.

The Liverpool striker scored 31 goals last season, but England must also worry about his striker partner Edinson Cavani while Italy also possess dangerous attackers, such as fiery former Manchester City man Mario Balotelli.

"Suarez has been phenomenal this year," Cahill said.

"But I think it's dangerous to get fixated on one player.

"In some ways it helps that he's in the Premier League as you know a little bit about him. But you have to be respectful too."

Cahill, who has just enjoyed the best year of his career, cannot wait to get to Brazil - a country with which he became enchanted last year after playing in England's 2-2 draw at the Maracana.

But the former Bolton defender knows he should not get ahead of himself just yet.

Two years ago Hodgson named Cahill in his Euro 2012 squad, but the centre-back ended up spending the summer watching England on the television in a Marbella villa after he broke his jaw in a warm-up game against Belgium.

"I was looking forward to my first tournament and then to have it taken away from me so late on was a massive disappointment," Cahill added.

"I went away with my family and watched every game on TV.

"It was a strange experience. When we won, I was buzzing like the lads were, but at the same time I was thinking 'I should have been a part of that'.

"Maybe it makes this a little bit sweeter. I can't wait to go.

"Touch wood I won't get injured again."

PA

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