Antonio Conte has expressed his hope his Chelsea captain Gary Cahill makes it into the final England squad for this summer’s World Cup but says it is important to respect the decisions of national team managers.
Cahill was not included in Gareth Southgate’s latest England selection named this week but having been manager of Italy before taking the Chelsea job, Conte is able to explain some of the thinking of a person in that role, with England now qualified and playing friendlies in the build-up to the tournament.
‘For sure you are talking about a really good player, with great quality as a player and also human qualities,’ Conte said of Cahill.
‘It is difficult for me with my past to speak about the decisions of the manager of the national team. We have to respect, also because this is not the final call for the World Cup. Maybe the manager wants to try or find out new solutions. There are a lot of thoughts in the mind of the coach before preparing the final list, and you have to try to have a very clear mind.
‘This is the last opportunity for the managers of the national teams to explore new situations. Gary is a player who for his experience and for the quality of the player and the person, I hope he goes in the national team and plays another World Cup.’
Conte pointed out there are two months of the season remaining for every player under consideration for selection to show they deserve to go and play at the World Cup, and he added:
‘Usually with the national team, you can call also players who are not playing with regularity [with their club]. When I was coach with the national team, it happened because I trusted in the players and it can happen that when a player is with a great team with a lot of competition, you can stay on the bench.’
Conte confirmed he will continue to pick what he considers the best selection for Chelsea for each particular game regardless of any international team considerations, but he has advice for players in the situation that Cahill and Alvaro Morata, who did not make the Spain squad this week, are in.
‘I understand it is a hard time but there is only one way, to work hard and show that you deserve to play [for the national team]. That is the only way, not to complain, and I can help them to improve and to work very hard and show that they deserve to go.’