Gary Cahill proving his worth at Chelsea

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In the summer of 2011, Chelsea allowed Brazilian central defender, Alex, to leave the club.

Consequently, the following January, the Blues invested £7m to provide cover for their prime defenders.

When Gary Cahill's rather low-key transfer from Bolton went through, huge sections of spectators expected a quiet season from the no.24, with limited opportunities in the first team; only recruited to lend a helping hand to steady the rocky ship that then-Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas had formed within his dressing room through some unconvincing tactics and team selections.

In contrast, the 27-year-old's first season with the West London club was both unpredictable and fruitful.

Injuries and suspensions to key-men meant that Cahill was called upon by new manager Roberto Di Matteo to represent his new side on a number of big occasions.

In a more than dramatic season at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's defensive solidarity guided them to both the Champions League and FA cup crowns, respectively.

During Chelsea's glamour tie with Barcelona, in a fiercely contested semi-final in Spain, Gary Cahill had to limp off the field of play due to an over-stretched leg.

Barcelona had gained a 2-1 advantage on aggregate as captain John Terry saw red for a poor lunge at Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez.

The tie looked as if it was slipping away, but then a few more moments of magic occurred which I'm sure we are all aware of.

Gary Cahill then went on to play no football until the Champions League final against Bavarian giants, Bayern Munich, due to the injury he sustained in the match at the Nou Camp.

However, Cahill recovered from his injury to partner the only other available defender Chelsea had - a half-fit David Luiz. The pair both produced an admirable display, restricting a relentless Bayern side to one goal, as Didier Drogba typically equalised.

That night, the 19th May, was a baptism of fire for Cahill; the former Aston Villa man was now a more than reliable choice to be selected for any big games the Blues would have to face, winning both the FA Cup and Champions League in his first 6 months in a Blue shirt.

It seems as though his performances had also caught the eye of Jose Mourinho. The returning Chelsea manager has put his faith in Cahill, starting him in games such as Chelsea's Super Cup clash with Bayern Munich, and Manchester United.

Since swapping Bolton for Chelsea, Cahill has become a warrior of a defender; willing to throw his body in front of anything to maintain a clean sheet, nail-biting last-ditch challenges, and also a quite helpful goal return are some things the Stamford Bridge faithful have grown accustomed to during his one-and-a-half-year spell.

His reliability has seemingly placed him ahead of the likes of David Luiz and youngster Tomas Kalas in the Chelsea pecking order - assuming Branislav Ivanovic will be used as a right-back by Mourinho.

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Gary Cahill
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