Speaking with Premier League Productions in a near-40 minute interview, Gary Cahill has dissected his career in an honest and wide-ranging chat which you can hear in full via the official Palace Podcast.
Here's a taster of what Gary had to say...
Arriving at Palace
Ever since I stepped through the door - I wasn’t just saying it - it was a first impression that I got from this football club: it’s a tight-knit group, it’s a group of players that get on very well with each other, demand a lot and work very hard for each other.
First memories of football
The home I grew up in, we had a field at the back of our garden where our garden backed onto an old school that had closed down. That was where I used to play all my football, all my mates used to come from school. It probably annoyed my mum, knocking on the door every two minutes, running through the house and straight to the garden.
A debut to remember
I think we [Aston Villa] were 3-0 down [v Arsenal] and I got thrown on at the old Highbury. When I came on there - I just mentioned Defoe and Robbie Keane, unbelievable - I think there was Thierry Henry and [Emmanuel] Adebayor. I was thinking: ‘Is this what I’ve got to deal with every week?!’
The big move
If you talk in terms of progression as a player, I felt I’d done what I could do at Bolton at that moment. I had an opportunity; I was at a great age to move to a big club [Chelsea]. We had a couple of things that didn’t quite come off for whatever reason and my next step, if I could, I wanted somewhere where I could fight for trophies, where I could fight to win something. I felt if I jumped between the two, I was making a step that didn’t make any sense to me.
A tough end to a trophy-laden time
Last year was not great but to almost take a season out in terms of not playing, I’ve never done that in my life. I’m sure I averaged something like 45/50 games before then, so to go from doing that to nothing... Again, [it was] something that I was proud of: to keep fit, to keep your head, to keep match fit.
I knew after Christmas what was happening, I knew the situation and the deal so I had to be selfish in terms of my fitness and training more. Even leading up to games on Thursday or Friday where you’d normally tail off, [I was] even going more after training and I did that to benefit my career.
You can listen to Cahill's full interview now via the Palace Pod by clicking here. It's a great listen that provides real insight into the man and footballer, so don't miss out and click here now! Alternatively, just search 'Official Palace Podcast' in your chosen podcast provider.