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On This Day 2008: Gary Cahill joins Bolton

Back when we had decent defenders!

Alex Livesey

Gary James Cahill turned professional at Aston Villa in 2004.

Later that season he joined Burnley on loan, where he was named their Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.

He made his Aston Villa debut upon his return from Lancashire as a sub in a 0-5 defeat against Arsenal, making his first start for the club against West Brom in April 2006.

He scored his first goal a further week later against Birmingham City with a spectacular overhead kick.

In September 2007 he joined Sheffield United on loan, makinghis debut in a 3-2 away defeat at Crystal Palace.

Cahill scored his first goal for Sheffield United in a 1-0 win at Stoke City in November 2007.

Cahill returned to Villa Park in mid December having played sixteen games and scoring two goals.

A lack of first-team action led to intense speculation surrounding Cahill's future in the January transfer window, with Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers and Turkish club Beşiktaş J.K. all reportedly showing an interest.

However, he chose to sign for Bolton Wanderers given the promise of first team football, and signed a four year contract for a fee of £5.5m which was an astronomical sum for someone with less than 30 first team Premier League appearances under his belt.

However, then-Bolton manager Gary Megson struck gold with Cahill, who became a key member of his defence, and a vital member of the squad that avoided relegation in his first season at the club.

Cahill's excellent performances invariably led to transfer speculation, and his progression was such that in September 2011, in his first competitive start, Cahill scored his first international goal for England against Bulgaria in the qualifying rounds of UEFA Euro 2012.

In netting the opening goal, Cahill became the first Bolton Wanderers player to score for England since Ray Parry against Northern Ireland in 1959.

Transfer speculation followed Cahill, such was his quality and his progression.

In December 2011, ahead of the opening of the transfer window, Bolton manager Owen Coyle announced that a fee had been agreed with Chelsea for the transfer of the defender, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season.

He signed for the London club for a fee reported to be in the region of £7m on 16th January 2012.

Upon joining Chelsea, Cahill said:

"Chelsea is a massive club, it is a club that looks to win trophies season in season out and it is a big opportunity for me to be a part of that. Opportunities like this you can't turn down.

"This is the right move for me at the right time and I would like to thank everyone at Bolton because I've had a great four years at the football club.

My spell with Wanderers has enabled me to break into the England squad, and I would particularly like to thank the fans for their support along the way. I always appreciated their backing."

He took up position at the heart of the Chelsea defence alongside deposed England captain and celebrity racist love-rat John Terry.

His first season at the club yielded success, winning the FA Cup and Champions League, whilst former club Bolton suffered the heartbreak of relegation.

Since then, Cahill has won the 2012/13 Europa League as well as representing England on 22 occasions, scoring twice.

He is expected to be part of the England squad that will be knocked out of the Group Stages of the 2014 World Cup, to be held in Brazil.

Career Honours

Chelsea

FA Cup : 2011-12
UEFA Champions League : 2011-12
UEFA Europa League : 2012-13

Aston Villa

Goal of the Season : 2005-06

Burnley

Player of the Year : 2004-05
Young Player of the Year : 2004-05

Bolton

Players' Player of the Year : 2008-09