Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes that Gary Cahill will be a key player for England at the World Cup.

The Blues centre-back is widely expected to make the Three Lions’ starting XI alongside Phil Jagielka for the opening game against Italy in Manaus on Saturday, and will enter the tournament high on confidence after a fine domestic campaign.

Cahill was ever present for Chelsea throughout 2013/14, helping the Londoners to a season that almost climaxed in Champions League and Premier League double glory.

With John Terry no longer available to England some have suggested that Hodgson’s defence will be some way from being as strong as it has been in years gone by, but Mourinho feels that his man will be able to shine in Brazil:

“Gary had an absolutely fantastic season for me and he is becoming a leader.” He is quoted by the Daily Star.

“At the start of the season I did not know Gary, so I had to learn about him the best I could.

“But the security of my team at Chelsea was based on Gary and John Terry.

“I think he’s at the top of his game now. He’s had two and a half seasons at Chelsea now but this season has been the most complete one.

“He has made himself first choice in the national team. First-choice, no doubts.”

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