Gary Cahill has revealed that England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals all-but ended his Chelsea career.
The centre-back had been a major figure in the Blues backline for six years when England reached the last four of the World Cup in 2018 – the same summer in which Maurizio Sarri was appointed for his sole season in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Despite being club captain, Cahill did not get the farewell season he would have wished for under Sarri, as he was given just two Premier League appearances.
In an interview with Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail, Cahill – who now plays for Crystal Palace – has admitted that England’s prolonged World Cup adventure impacted the way he started under Sarri.
“We went to the 2018 World Cup, got to the semi-finals, so I missed pre-season, which I think was massive looking back now,” he admitted.
“He (Sarri) was very much into his tactics, probably too much, and I missed all of that. I was on the back foot.
“To be brutally honest, halfway through the season, the relationship was gone. I don’t think that was ever going to be recovered.”
Cahill admitted that the way he was treated by Sarri was tough to deal with from a psychological point of view, insisting he would have kept his shirt if the Italian coach, who is now managing Juventus, had given him more opportunities.
“It’s difficult to have respect for some of the things he did.
“But I have a lot of respect for the club, and for the players. As a big figure then, as captain, to go about things totally the wrong way, which I easily could have done, it’s not the way to do it.
“Was that easy? No. Was that one of the mentally toughest things to deal with? Especially because it went on for so long? One hundred per cent.
“The maddest thing is when you don’t play for whatever reason – if you’re out of form, or if you had a few bad games and someone is playing better than you – I know in my head that if you give me four or five games in a row, I’ll be back. I’ll take my chance.
“You know that in yourself because you’ve got that burning desire inside of you. Give me five games and you won’t get this shirt back.
“That’s an arrogance you have to have. The problem is he never gave me that.”