The 27-year-old, who started his childhood career with AFC Dronfield before joining the Aston Villa youth system, has endured a longer journey than many to the national side.
Cahill graduated from the Villa academy in 2004 before spending time on loan with Burnley and Sheffield United ahead of his move to Bolton Wanderers in 2008.
The centre-half made his international bow in 2011, scoring against Bulgaria in the Euro 2012 qualifier, before being picked up by Chelsea a year later.
Cahill now has a firm grip on the centre-back berth and believes his partner from England's last four World Cup qualifiers, Phil Jagielka, has also benefited from a similar route to the top.
"Because neither of us have been at a Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester United since we were 17, or been sold for £40million, people question us," Cahill told The Guardian.
"When we started everyone was talking about the two big stars [John Terry and Rio Ferdinand] who had dropped out and how they had left a massive void.
"I've had that throughout my career. You're forever having to overcome hurdles because you've not got that background."
Cahill believes the key to proving his early critics wrong was seizing every opportunity given to him and insists his career path stands him in good stead.
"Frankly, it makes me feel better about where I am now, the fact I've gone through all that," he added.
"I've gone on loan, dropping down from Villa, to come back up again and get where I am now.
"You have to grasp what you can, and that's what I've done."