Upon his arrival, it’s fair to say that Palace fans’ reaction to Gary Cahill was mixed. Despite a wealth of experience at the highest level, plenty retained doubts over what the ex-Chelsea defender could bring to the squad given his advancing years but when you read the quotes given by the 33-year-old to TalkSPORT, it’s clear that he’ll be a huge asset to Roy Hodgson both on and off the pitch.
The former England man wasn’t given any minutes by the gaffer in either of Palace’s opening two Premier League fixtures against Everton or Sheffield United but he isn’t feeling downhearted in the slightest, maintaining that his years in the game have left him as determined as ever to keep on proving himself:
“I’ve got a burning desire to win football matches and play consistently well at the highest level, first of all for me and then hopefully I can rub off on the players and staff around me and try and push the club in the right direction. That’s the pressure I need to put on myself.
“I need to be as hungry as ever, which I will be because all I need to do is flip my memory to last year to give me that fire in my belly to perform. I’m more than ready to go now and I’m looking forward to the season.”
Whilst neither one of Scott Dann or Martin Kelly have disgraced themselves when playing in the absence of Mamadou Sakho or James Tomkins this August, Cahill’s experience will surely be in the back of Roy Hodgson’s mind as he ponders which starting XI to go with ahead of our trip to Old Trafford this weekend. Coaches and players alike are thought to have been taken aback at just how close to match fitness Cahill looked from the moment he arrived at Copers Cope and with Solskjær’s Reds likely to be looking for a positive response following a disappointing result away at Wolves on Monday night, Gary may be just the sort of personality Palace need to keep them from having their way.