When Crystal Palace completed the signing of Gary Cahill back in the summer, it could’ve gone one of two ways.
Albeit on a free transfer, the England international was entering the twilight of his career, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal at the age of 33.
It was a risk. Cahill had been frozen out by Maurizio Sarri in his final year at Chelsea, meaning that not many people knew how his ageing body would deal with more regular Premier League action.
However, he has shone – here are three things we’ve learned about the centre-back this season…
Somewhat ironically, Cahill has actually been the most present of all the centre-backs at Selhurst Park, making 20 Premier League starts whereas James Tomkins has managed 18, Scott Dann seven, Mamadou Sakho six while Martin Kelly has made 17.
At some point or another, Cahill has appeared alongside each of these figures, working cohesively as a unit no matter who is alongside him to help Palace record nine shutouts this season – the sixth-most in the Premier League.
For a man who has been at the pinnacle of club football, winning the Champions League, Europa League and Premier League with Chelsea, you wouldn’t expect him to be too passionate over a goal against Aston Villa, right?
Well, wrong. These Crystal Palace fans adored a clip of Cahill celebrating wildly after Jordan Ayew netted against the Villans earlier this season, showing that no matter what level he is at, he simply loves his football.
For a 34-year-old playing Premier League football on a weekly basis, Cahill has looked fit beyond his years.
Just a slight knee injury has prevented him from having a perfectly healthy campaign, and there are certainly no signs of rust on the experienced centre-back who has been a real leader for the Eagles this season with 20 league starts under his belt.
In other news, this Crystal Palace man has been ransacking Steve Parish’s pockets since his arrival…