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First team

PROFILE: Cahill's illustrious career

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Experienced defender Gary Cahill joined AFC Bournemouth this morning, signing a one-year deal.

The central defender has enjoyed an illustrious career in which he’s won some of the biggest accolades available in the domestic game.

Born in Dronfield, Derbyshire, Cahill joined Aston Villa’s academy as a 15-year-old, initially playing as a central midfielder before a growth spurt saw him move to defence.

He joined Burnley on loan in November 2004, making his debut in the League Cup, playing the full 90 minutes in a defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

He enjoyed an impressive season with the Clarets, playing 32 times in all competitions, scoring once. Aged just 18, he was named the club’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.

Cahill made his Aston Villa debut in September 2005, scoring his first goal at the end of the 2005/06 season against fierce rivals, Birmingham City.

The defender had a three-month loan spell with Sheffield United in 2007, scoring twice in 16 matches, before making a permanent move to Bolton Wanderers for a fee of around £5.5 million.

Across five seasons at the Reebok Stadium, Cahill made 147 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals.

His performances at the club earned him his first England call-up, initially replacing Rio Ferdinand in the squad for the game against Kazakhstan in June 2009, although he didn’t make his debut until September 2010 when he came on as a second-half substitute against Bulgaria.

He scored his first international goal in September 2011, scoring the first goal in a 3-0 win over Bulgaria.

In January 2012, Cahill completed a move to Chelsea for a reported £7 million, making his debut in the 3-3 draw with Manchester United in February.

He quickly established himself as a key member of the Chelsea squad, scoring his first goal in the FA Cup win over Leicester City.

He won plaudits for his performance in the Champions League semi-final with Barcelona, making a series of key tackles, but injured his hamstring in the second leg.

However, Cahill, despite still being injury-affected, started the Champions League final with Bayern Munich and received praise for an outstanding performance to help Chelsea win the competition for the first time.

He received a call-up to England’s Euro 2012 squad but was ruled out with a broken jaw, an injury he sustained in a warm-up friendly with Belgium.

Cahill made 45 appearances in the 2012/13 season and once again made a crucial intervention in the Europa League final, a vital last-ditch tackle in the final minutes ensured Chelsea beat Benfica 2-1.

His performances in the following season, where he made 47 appearances in all competitions, earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year, the first of three inclusions in the end of season award.

Cahill helped Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2014/15 and 2016/17, captaining the club for the first time in the latter season.

He played three times in England’s 2014 World Cup campaign and captained his country for the first time in 2015, in a 2-0 win over Estonia. He played every minute of the Euro 2016 campaign, skippering the team in the group game draw with Slovakia.

He was named Chelsea’s official club captain ahead of the 2017/18 season, lifting the FA Cup at the end of that season following a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

Cahill was named in England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, in which England reached the semi-final. He played in the group game against Belgium.

The 2018/19 campaign proved to be his final season at the club and he featured more sparingly across the season, his last appearance coming against Watford. He was an unused substitute in the 2019 Europa League final, lifting the trophy alongside Cesar Azpilicueta.

In total, Cahill made 290 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, scoring 25 goals. He won eight major honours in his time at the club: two Premier Leagues, one Champions League, two Europa Leagues, two FA Cups and one League Cup.

He also made 61 appearances for England, scoring five goals.

The defender joined Crystal Palace in August 2019, linking up with former England manager Roy Hogdson. Over two seasons, he made 47 appearances and scored one goal, the winning goal against Newcastle United.

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