Chelsea captain Gary Cahill does not feel he has to prove himself to club or country after returning to Antonio Conte's starting XI.
The England defender was a mainstay in Chelsea's 2016-17 Premier League title triumph but has struggled for his best form this time around – somewhat encapsulating the Blues' limp defence of a crown that now lies in Manchester City's possession.
Cahill, 32, looked on as an unused substitute for matches against City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Barcelona over recent months but turned in an assured display at the heart of Conte's back three in Sunday's comfortable 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win against Southampton at Wembley.
He has now started all four Chelsea matches since defeat to Spurs at the start of the month – their first game back from the March international break when Cahill was omitted from Gareth Southgate's England squad in favour of the then-uncapped duo James Tarkowski and Alfie Mawson.
"I've been there before," said the centre-back before making a bullish defence of his credentials.
"I've been fortunate to have played the majority of the time I've been at this club. I've enjoyed success and I feel like I've been a big part of success – not just involved in winning trophies but involved heavily.
"So I feel I can contribute when I'm out there. But it's the manager's decision."
The prospect of England or Chelsea lining up without Cahill seemed unthinkable when he hoisted the Premier League trophy alongside John Terry 11 months ago.
Nevertheless, he is accepting of a relative fall from grace since the turn of the year and aiming to hit top form as Conte's men try to apply pressure on Liverpool and Tottenham above them in the final two top-four berths.
"Every time you come out of the team I know you don't just disappear, you don't just become a bad player overnight," Cahill said.
"Form, if you ride it out, means you come back to the level you should be at. I thought I played well against Southampton, did well against Burnley [Chelsea won 2-1 at Turf Moor last Thursday].
"I realise that's the situation for everybody, I realise the manager has decisions to make and I realise maybe I'm not getting any younger – far from it. But I'm fit and ready to go.
"I don't have to be going out with nerves, feeling that I have to prove things to everybody. I think I've done that before if you look over my career – playing in the Champions League, playing in the Premier League and playing for England.
"If I'm happy with the way I'm playing that's good enough for me because I know I'm at the level I should be. I'm my worst critic when I'm playing."
While qualifying for the Champions League is likely to prove out of reach for Chelsea, Cahill has another major honour and a second trip to a World Cup with England firmly in his sights.
"This is what playing football is all about – trying to reach finals and trying to lift trophies. We have the opportunity to do that now," he added.
"Let's see what happens at the end of the season. We're into the final now, the World Cup's coming. Let's wait and see."
18 de octubre 2018
|Morgan earns England recall, Cipriani overlooked|
|Reavie leads CJ Cup, solid start from Koepka|
|Juventus kicked me out to sign Ronaldo – Higuain|
|England forward Hughes given six-week ban|
|Injured Halep withdraws from WTA Finals|
|Ronaldo exit makes all the difference for Real Madrid – Luxemburgo|
|Manchester United´s Chelsea Blues and other one-sided rivalries|
|Babbel fears for Kovac´s Bayern future|
|Bradley homers again, Red Sox take 3-1 lead over Astros|
|Ayton, Doncic shine on NBA debuts|
|Leonard focusing on future after Raptors debut|
|MLS Review: Rooney stunner seals DC win, Sounders clinch play-off spot|
|Pochettino ´proud´ of Dier for Ramos tackle|
|Wallabies name three uncapped players for All Blacks clash|
|Lakers coach Walton will monitor LeBron´s minutes, plans to use deep rotation|
|Lloris: United´s Pogba unfairly judged because of transfer fee|
|´Phenomenon´ Mbappe deserves Ballon d´Or, says Buffon|
|Dodgers on cusp of World Series after beating Brewers|
|Mata braced for ´difficult month´ at Man United|
|WATCH: Rooney scores wonderful free-kick for DC United|
|Kaino handed five-week ban for striking Roberts|
|Bears star Khalil Mack ´day-to-day´ with ankle injury|
|Anthony has ´a clearer understanding´ of his role with Rockets|
|Brewers remove Miley after one batter against Dodgers|
|Rams rule out Kupp for 49ers game|
|Giants owner Mara to talk with Beckham Jr|
|Bamberg battle back to claim Champions League win|
|MLB investigated alleged Astros sign stealing, found no wrongdoing|
|Timberwolves star Wiggins to donate $22 for every point this NBA season|
|Red Sox´s Sale won´t start game five of ALCS|
|Tsitsipas and Shapovalov advance at Stockholm Open|
|Witsel to Dortmund is signing of the season - Martinez|
|Pique confident Nadal will play in 2019 Davis Cup|
17 de octubre 2018
|Seeds suffer in Moscow and Luxembourg|
|Johnstone grabs hat-trick as England ease past France|
|Pogba and Mourinho disagreement over Instagram video, confirms Pereira|
|Nuggets coach Malone signs contract extension|
|Mayweather accepts Khabib´s challenge: ´We´re fighting´|
|Slovenia sack Kavcic as head coach|
|Morgan and Rashid star as England win rain-reduced ODI in Sri Lanka|
|Romagnoli aims to make Gattuso proud in Milan derby|
|Naldo signs Schalke extension|
|Bills to start quarterback Anderson against Colts with Allen out|
|O´Sullivan makes 147 at ´hellhole´|
|Barcelona know when captain Messi is angry – Abidal|
|Bertens loss hands Pliskova last WTA Finals berth|
|Liverpool star Mane undergoes hand surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Happy hunting ground for title-chasing Hamilton - US GP in numbers|
|Canelo signs record-breaking DAZN deal|
|England hit by another Vunipola injury absence|
|Gruden: Oakland Raiders ´aren´t tanking´|
|Chiesa focused and happy at Fiorentina|
|We´ll see what´s possible - Henry not limiting Monaco´s ambitions|
|Wembley sale off after Khan offer withdrawn|
|Football needs people like Arsene - Pires keen for Wenger return|
|Abbas five-for torments woeful Australia as Pakistan take control|
|Henry: Wenger and Guardiola inspirations for my coaching career|
|Pires backs Henry and Vieira for Ligue 1 success|
|Bolt rejects Valletta offer|
|Wenger ready for January return to management – but where?|
|NBA 2018-19: The LeBron James effect on teams he has joined|
|Svitolina qualifies for WTA Finals after Pliskova loses|
|Genoa will sell ´superstar´ Piatek, admits president|
|Moutinho targets European qualification with Wolves|
|Embiid: 76ers-Celtics isn´t a rivalry, they always kick our a**|
|Vinicius ´calm´ as he waits for Real Madrid chance|
|Nothing else to say - Ramos posts clip of supposed Sterling stamp|
|Chiellini joins Mind the Gap campaign to help players prepare for retirement|
|Injured Kusal Perera replaced by Kusal Mendis in Sri Lanka squad|
|Big names return for Scotland´s November Tests|