Cahill caps 'crazy week'

Centre-back admits speculation has been a mental strain

Cahill: The centre-back set England on their way in Bulgaria

Cahill: The centre-back set England on their way in Bulgaria

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Gary Cahill admitted he struggled mentally in a 'crazy week' which was capped by his first international goal for England.

The Bolton centre-back was the subject of summer-long transfer speculation and was linked with Arsenal and Liverpool before Tottenham failed in a deadline attempt to sign his services on Wednesday.

But having set England on their way to a 3-0 win in Bulgaria in Euro 2012 qualifying on Friday night, Cahill wanted to look forward to the rest of the season and his probable inclusion in Tuesday's match with Wales.

"It's been a crazy week - a difficult week really, mentally," he told Sky Sports HD1 after his maiden competitive start for England.

"I'm just thankful to get the opportunity and you've got to play with a smile on your face."

Gary Cahill

Quotes of the week

"But once the window shut I knew obviously I was staying so I'll get my head down and work hard for Bolton and work hard for my country."

Over the moon

He would have celebrated the strike more enthusiastically had he been convinced the goal would stand.

"I heard the whistle and thought I was offside - otherwise I would have been a lot more excited than that but I'm over the moon," he said.

"When I looked over and saw the flag was down... it was fantastic to get my first goal.

"The result was the most important thing and a good performance by the lads.

"There's a lot of young lads who have come in and that's only good for England. I'm just thankful to get the opportunity and you've got to play with a smile on your face.

Memorable

"The more times you can be involved you'll learn a lot from the senior boys."

Manchester United's Chris Smalling featured at right-back on his debut rather than the more familiar centre-half position, but was pleased with his contribution.

"It's a completely different position - I've only played there a few times this season," he said.

"The manager gave me a job and luckily it paid off. It was good to get the clean sheet.

"It's been a great few years for me. I remember a couple of years ago playing for Fulham it was my first European game here and to get my first England cap here - it's been two memorable moments."

England now only need four points from Tuesday's game against Wales and October's trip to Montenegro to book their place at the finals of Euro 2012.

Who was England's man of the match against Bulgaria?

  • Cahill
  • Downing
  • Parker
  • Rooney
  • Young
  • Other