Gary Cahill, The Quiet One
Gary James Cahill, 28 years old, born in Sheffield, England, has been playing for Chelsea since January 2012. He's not showy nor eccentric, he's not aggressive nor distracted - he's effective. He does his job quietly and he does it well, plus he's got class. A true English gentleman, if you'll allow me.
It's not the first time I've stated that Cahill is one of the best players in the Chelsea team, and it's not the first time he's decisive in a Chelsea victory. But last night it wasn't just a game, not just a victory, last night it was an essential win to keep the Blues in the race for the title. And Gary Cahill was superb - so superb, that the first half of the game wasn't even finished and I was already thinking that his performance might just inspire me enough to write about him. So here we are.
Against Manchester City last night, Gary Cahill was a quiet beast. He blocked two shots, got one interception, cleared the ball 16 times, won 11 aerial duels - is there anything else to say? This defender was the man of the match. Or he truly would have been, had his header hit the back of the net and not the goalpost. He was probably the best player in the best Chelsea performance this season, and that is saying a lot.
It's unquestionable how important Cahill was in this game, but let's not forget that he's been getting better every season - he's a bit of an unsung hero for me, really. He never fails in big games and his perforamance is never overshadowed by aggression, because being violent simply seems not a part of his nature, as it is in many defenders' characters. In his quiet efficiency, the Englishman has been proving himself a key piece in Chelsea's defense for a long time now. But credit should go to where credit is due: he's been at his best since José Mourinho arrived, and that's probably why his name's getting stuck in people's ears now more than before.
With the World Cup getting closer, I really think Roy Hodgson should take Cahill into account seriously. I can't recall an English centre-back that is in a better shape than him as of right now - of course, there's still a few months left to go and a lot could change, but Gary has been proving himself quite consistently and he's proved he deserves a place on the team. Chelsea's defense is always immeasurably more solid when he's playing and we all know that if there's something the England National Team needs, it's strenght, consistency and solidness. So keep an eye on this one, Mr. Hodgson!
Plus, there's been talks of the Blues giving him a renewal till 2017. I say yes, please. Cahill should be kept in Stamford Bridge for as long as possible, because I truly believe he's still got a long way to go. He's top class when it comes to the Premier League already, but he's talented enough to become a world class defender - just wait and see, with Mourinho right beside him, The Quiet One will get there before you even realize it. Last night's performance was just the beginning.