Cahill reveals Euro dream
Bolton's Gary Cahill says he would jump at the chance to play Champions League football if it came along.
Last Updated: 15/04/11 8:15am
Bolton defender Gary Cahill says he would jump at the chance to play UEFA Champions League football if it came along.
The 25-year-old, who made his full England debut last month, has attracted interest from a number of top European clubs after shining for the Trotters over the past two seasons.
Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham are all thought to have Cahill on their wish-list, while both Milan clubs have also been linked with the centre-back.
Trotters manager Owen Coyle has responded to the reported interest by admitting his star defender is likely to outgrow the club and move on.
And Cahill, who will step out at Wembley on Sunday in Bolton's FA Cup semi-final against Stoke, says the dream of playing on club football's most elite stage has made him consider his future.
He told the Daily Mail: "It's a bit weird in a way. Normally when there is transfer speculation, the manager comes out and says, 'They can forget it - he's going nowhere'.
"But the thing about our manager is he's not only ambitious for himself and his club, he's ambitious for his players. He wants them to have the same drive and desire to get to the top. He expects us all to want to better ourselves.
"So when all the speculation started last summer, he called me in for a chat. He checked first of all that it hadn't turned my head, then he came out with this statement about outgrowing the club one day.
"He just said, 'Gaz, if you were happy just to tick along at your age there would be something wrong. You've got it in you to play at Champions League level and I honestly believe it's going to happen for you'.
"It was lovely to hear that, really flattering, and what he said has made it easier for me to contemplate moving on and taking another step forward in my career. If there is an opportunity to do something big you want to take it.
"I would never disrespect Bolton after all they have done for me but I am ready for the challenge."
Cahill draws inspiration from former Bolton loanee Jack Wilshere, who has established himself as a key player in Arsenal's line-up since returning to his parent club, and was a star performer in their Champions League campaign this season.
He added: "I still speak to Jack Wilshere after his loan spell here and when I watched him in the Nou Camp (against Barcelona) the other week I couldn't help thinking, 'That's where I want to be: testing myself against the best'.
"I know there is extra pressure to deliver and prove you're worth a place alongside top players but I like to think I could handle that.
"At 25, I'm still young but I'm not exactly the new kid on the block. I have played enough Premier League games and gained enough international experience to be ready.
"I thought Jack did really well over there in Barcelona. I want to show I can hold my own in that company."