Much has changed since Gary Cahill last played in the Championship.
In the 14 years following a loan spell with Sheffield United in 2007, he became a two-time Premier League and FA Cup winner, won the Champions League and appeared more than 60 times for the England.
Now, following his release from Crystal Palace this summer, the defender is back – having signed a one-year contract with Bournemouth in mid-August – and he made his debut for the Cherries in the 3-0 victory from Saturday over Barnsley to Vitality. Stadium.
It was a move that few people saw coming, including Cahill.
“I could have stayed in the Premier League – Palace gave me another year,” he told the Sky Sports EFL Podcast.
“They needed to lower the age of the team so it didn’t work but it was fantastic there. It’s a great football club and I enjoyed my two years, but I also had other opportunities to stay in the league.
“It’s not me that is disrespecting, but the teams that I would have gone to, I might have lost more games than won. Speaking from my own point of view, I will add to my appearances or am I going to have a different challenge and come to a club that, again, is changing and ultimately a challenge for promotion?
“I took quite a long time this summer for this reason – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for my future. I spoke when I first signed here about what was going to me. driving, what was I doing The more I was away, the more I missed playing. I missed the games, above all.
“As for the opportunity to come here, I saw it as a totally different challenge than what I was used to in previous years and a challenge I was excited about. I hope I can bring that little bit of field experience at some point that it might be necessary is what I hope.
“Of course I will add experience, but I came here to deliver first and foremost in the field.”
But what prompted the 35-year-old to swap the capital for the south coast?
“I played with the manager,” laughed Cahill, who was part of the England squad at the same time as Scott Parker.
“I spoke to him a few times over the summer, so I was aware that was an option from the start. He was a big draw, obviously. Knowing him, knowing what he stands for and how he was as a player, I presume that would result in management.
“He wants to win and he’s very hungry and that’s what I accepted in terms of the team in general, which has been the case since I’ve been here.”
Cahill’s second-tier return may have been kind so far, but that doesn’t mean he’s been deluding himself about the rigors of the division, ahead of QPR’s Tuesday visit – a game that is in the works. direct on Sky Sports Football.
“I have played my entire career in England so I am fully aware of the championship,” he added.
“I had two good times earlier in my career which helped me grow into a man. Some league teams want to play football, others want to go more direct, with a tough style of play.
“I know it’s going to be tough, I know every game is going to be very different, but again I come to a team that is a strong team in this league, so I hope we will be at the front of the stage for a lot of games. “
Having played at the highest level of English football his entire career – with the exception of that loan at Sheffield United and one at Burnley a few seasons earlier – for all his accomplishments, Cahill does not have a promotion on his CV.
It’s safe to say he wants this to change.
“There are all these kinds of things in your head. When you get to the stage of my career, the time of winning the Premier League – which I have done in the past – is over. What do you want Why do you want to come every day?
“This [promotion] was the engine and that’s what I want to do this season. I know it’s going to be tough; it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. But that’s the goal at the end of everything.
“Promotion will be difficult. They are a very young team and in these times you need quality, youth, a little experience, the friction of the green and whatever it takes for you. I’m just excited to start. “