Gary Cahill takes on questions from the pupils of Therfield School in Leatherhead at the first ESFA PlayStation Schools’ Cup Tie of the Round roadshow of the season.
If you were to give one piece of advice to an aspiring footballer what would it be?
I always say to enjoy what you’re doing, I think that if you enjoy what you’re doing and you work hard at what you’re doing, it brings the best out of you. Certainly with myself, if I enjoy the football ultimately (I) play my best football so I would say that. Work hard, listen to people and enjoy it.
Growing up, were you always a defender?
No, believe it or not, I was a lot smaller than what I am now and I would say in school I was kind of average height, and I used to play centre midfield, for those of you who know that position, and then all of a sudden I shot up in height so I went to the back and found it easier playing there, so I think it was a blessing in disguise.
Who do you think is the best defender in the world?
Wow, good question, I don’t know. Vincent Kompany, Thiago Silva. I think John Terry has to be up there for sure in terms of what he’s done in his career, so it’s hard to pick one I think. Those three are certainly all top, top defenders, and in the past the likes of Rio Ferdinand or even Tony Adams for England as an ultimate Centre Back, and these guys are really top players in their position.
Who is the most difficult player you have played against?
Another good question. I’ve played against Messi, which I think everyone in this room knows who he is, so I’d probably say somebody else, again it’s difficult because us as players we travel a lot and even in pre-season we played Real Madrid. When you play against Ronaldo and Messi, two of the best players in the world today, but also for me, two other difficult opponents that I’ve faced are Suarez and Aguero, who is obviously in my league, they’re two tricky forwards.
You are known as a goal scoring defender. What is your favourite goal you have ever scored?
I think there’s two favourite goals I’ve ever scored, one was, you guys won’t remember, it was about twelve years ago when I first started playing, it was my first ever goal for Aston Villa. We played Birmingham and it (was) like a kind of overhead volley. Aston Villa versus Birmingham is a derby match, so that was a big one for me, and my favourite goal I have scored for Chelsea was against Tottenham away, it was a volley and that is a favourite for me at Chelsea.
Who are your best friends in football?
I think, over the years I’ve got a lot of friends through football because I’ve not just been at one club in my career so there’s many guys that I still speak to and still socialise with now. I’m trying to think of someone you guys would probably know, in the team I’m in now it’s probably maybe John (Terry) because of the English connection, and when I first got there I knew him as he’d played for England which helped so I’d say he’s someone I socialise with. Maybe at England it’s somebody like Joe Hart, I played with him for many years, even at England Under 19s and Under 21s so I’ve known him for a long time.
Who is the most skilful player currently playing for Chelsea?
I think for me Willian, he has the most tricks, obviously Hazard as well, they’re both close but Willian for me. I see him in training a lot and his feet are incredible so I’d say him.
What is Antonio Conte like to play for as a manager?
Good, he’s intense, intense in a good way. He likes to train hard, he likes to train a lot, and he likes tactical work, a lot of tactical work but he’s a winner. You can see the way he’s emotional on the side of the pitch he’s always jumping around. He demands a lot from the players so it’s good for us and it rubs off on us.
Are there any current England or Chelsea players that you see making good managers in the future?
Maybe somebody like, he’ll disagree with me but I think he’d be a good manager is somebody like Phil Jagielka. You have to know his personality to know why I would say that. I think Phil Jagielka is a leader, he’s obviously captain at Everton, and he’s got a lot of experience. I’m trying to think of somebody from Chelsea, maybe Begovic, again John’s doing his coaching badges so he probably wants to go into it, so those three guys.
What was the reaction of the Chelsea players when they found out David Luiz was returning to the club?
The Chelsea players were happy because David’s a fantastic player first and foremost but he’s also a big character to have in the dressing room and it’s always good to have these types of guys involved in a group. Obviously we were doing very, very well before so it’s not like a new guy has come in, it was so easy for him to drop back into the team having everybody know him, so I think the general feeling was that we were buzzing and happy really to have him back.
Which Chelsea signing from the summer has impressed you most?
It’s very difficult because the signings we’ve had are all in different positions so it’s very tough to say that, I think they all have in different ways. Kante has played the most and he was fantastic for Leicester last season, but all three of them are good players.
Which Chelsea player would win in a 100m race?
Pedro, I think.
Who is the funniest person in the dressing room?
Diego Costa, it’s crazy that I say that because he speaks barely any English at all but you lot see him as a stand up, aggressive guy, and off the pitch he’s like a ten year old kid, always joking about, always laughing, always messing around’ so I’m going to say Diego (Costa).