Cahill happy after England start

The 25-year-old has been one of the most in-form centre-halves in

the Premier League this season and has seen his club form rewarded

by regular call-ups to Fabio Capello’s squad. Having made

substitute appearances against Bulgaria and Denmark, Cahill was

handed a starting berth by Capello for the first time in last

night’s international friendly against Ghana. The former Aston

Villa man acquitted himself well as he played the full 90 minutes,

regularly stifling the Black Stars’ attack and coming close to

scoring himself. Cahill admitted the performance was tinged by the

disappointment of Asamoah Gyan’s late equaliser in the 1-1 draw,

but was keen to take the positives from his Wembley start. “I’ve

got two other caps, obviously in different circumstances, so it was

nice to play from the off and get a full 90 minutes under my belt,”

he said. “Obviously it was a great honour and I thoroughly enjoyed

it, although I am obviously a little disappointed that we conceded

late on. “Knowing that you’re starting, I kind of like, because you

can prepare for the game, while when you come on as a sub it is

difficult to get to grips with the pace of the game. “But like I

say, I was over the moon to get the nod having watched the game

from the stands on Saturday. “You want to get yourself out there

and kick the ball around and it was a great honour to get 90

minutes.” Despite the late equaliser, Cahill was one of the

stand-out performers in a second-string England side alongside the

likes of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing. The trio will have

undoubtedly boosted their claims for a regular place in Capello’s

side with their performances, and the defender believes the team

can take positives from the draw. “I was pleased with my

performance,” he said.”During the game I thought first half we

dominated and second half they got into it a little bit more and

obviously we’re disappointed to concede late on. “But I think there

were a lot of positives to take out of the game and I was pleased

with my overall performance.” Bolton chairman Phil Gartside was

equally pleased with Cahill’s England start, hailing his

performance against the World Cup quarter-finalists. “I’m

absolutely delighted for Gary because I know how much it means to

him to play for England and how proud he is to be selected for his

country,” he told the club’s official website. “He has been

involved in a number of squads now and come on a substitute on a

couple of occasions, so this is a great step for him. “Gary always

gives 100% for the club and country and he did that again with

another accomplished performance.”