Two of the biggest headlines in football on Tuesday concerned two members of Gareth Southgate’s England squad over the summer in Russia. After returning to club duty three weeks ago, both Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy have stepped down from their roles within the national team.
The latter confirmed his decision first and was followed by the Chelsea centre-back. Both Premier League stars said that they are not completely out of the reckoning for selection but will only return if it’s a necessity. It seems very logical for both players as neither saw much time on the pitch over the summer, Cahill in particular.
The ex-Bolton defender went into the World Cup as the Three Lions’ most capped player and the general idea was that he was taken purely for his national team experience, something that was absent throughout the rest of the squad. Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kyle Walker were the three centre-back choices and with the trio all being relatively young, it’s hard to see Cahill getting a look in.
It’s a similar situation with Vardy who was always going to be behind Harry Kane in the first-team pecking order and with Marcus Rashford making the right impression, the Premier League champion’s hopes of making the team are slim. Emphasis was placed on the fact that neither player has ruled themselves completely out of another call-up as both are happy to be picked in the case of a number of injuries.
Cahill has made it crystal clear that his focus is on earning a place in Maurizio Sarri’s side where he is being edged further and further away from the starting XI. A move away from West London in the summer looked like a possibility but it seems as though the 61-time England international is happy to settle for a backup position, especially without age on his side.
If Gary Cahill never pulls on his country’s shirt again, he has certainly had a successful international career. A record of 61 caps, five goals and four major tournaments is more than a young defender could ever hope for.