Former Chelsea captain Denis Wise believes Gary Cahill is fortunate on current form to be included in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The Blues central defender was left out of the March friendlies against Holland and Italy after losing his place in the Chelsea starting line-up.
But he has returned to the Chelsea fold in recent weeks and did enough to convince Southgate he should be recalled.
His inclusion was aided by a season-ending injury to Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and will be a major boost for the 32-year-old ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Cahill, who made his Premier League debut for Aston Villa in April 2005, is England’s most experienced player with 58 caps, his first coming against Bulgaria in September 2010.
The World Cup squad also includes Chelsea team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold and Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, but there is not place for Manchester City keeper Joe Hart or Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
Speaking about Cahill, Wise told Sky Sports: “He is an experienced campaigner and someone you would like to think will be very helpful to the younger ones.
“His overall performances during the year have not been fantastic. He has had times when he has been in and out of the teams and struggled at times.
“I think it is a case of Gareth showing confidence in an older and experienced campaigner who has been around and therefore feels it is right for him to go along.
“Gareth will have his reasons but he has not been in good form this year, unfortunately.”
England World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland [Stoke], Jordan Pickford [Everton], Nick Pope [Burnley].
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold [Liverpool], Gary Cahill [Chelsea], Fabian Delph [Manchester City], Phil Jones [Manchester United], Harry Maguire [Leicester], Danny Rose [Tottenham Hotspur], John Stones [Manchester City], Kieran Trippier [Tottenham Hotspur], Kyle Walker [Manchester City], Ashley Young [Manchester United].
Midfielders: Dele Alli & Eric Dier [both Tottenham Hotspur], Jordan Henderson [Liverpool], Jesse Lingard [Manchester United], Ruben Loftus-Cheek [Chelsea].
Forwards: Harry Kane [Tottenham], Marcus Rashford [Manchester United], Raheem Sterling [Manchester City], Jamie Vardy [Leicester], Danny Welbeck [Arsenal].
Standby: Lewis Cook [Bournemouth], Tom Heaton [Burnley], Adam Lallana [Liverpool], Jake Livermore [West Brom], James Tarkowski [Burnley].