Cahill stakes his claim for South Africa

GARY CAHILL might remain a largely unknown figure outside Bolton, but his manager Gary Megson has backed him to “be ready for the World Cup” if chosen for next summer’s finals by England manager Fabio Capello.

Cahill turned in another impressive performance in front of Capello during Bolton’s 2-1 success over Birmingham at St Andrew’s on Saturday – their second successive away win.

Megson feels Cahill has made big strides forward since deciding to quit Aston Villa and move to the Reebok stadium in January 2008.

He said: “Gary is ready in terms of England. I said that six months ago, probably longer than that. He is ready for the World Cup if called upon. All he can do is keep putting in good performances.

“It was great from Gary’s point of view that Fabio turned up at Birmingham because he now knows if he keeps putting in performances, the England manager will come along – regardless of whom we are playing.”

Tamir Cohen’s third goal of the campaign gave Bolton the lead and, after Kevin Phillips had equalised, South Korean international Chung-Yong Lee grabbed a last gasp winner for the Trotters.

Blues manager Alex McLeish bemoaned his side’s poor defending at set pieces for both of the Bolton goals.

But he took heart from the reaction from his players in the dressing room after the final whistle.

He said: “A few of the players let rip in the dressing room, the ones with the voices, and I quite enjoyed that. It saved me raising my voice.

“They got stuck into each other because they switched off. I think some of our players lost a bit of concentration and we became a bit trance-like.

“I think the input is important. Of course, they must get on but they don’t all have to be best pals and it is important people show leadership.

“We lost the first goal from a set piece which, believe me, we try and practice against on the training ground.

“But it is nothing like the real thing and we didn’t deal with it and were punished again.

“Then again we didn’t follow in for the second goal after the free-kick had hit the post.”

REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Kent) 6: A bitty, scrappy game but that was hardly the fault of the officials, who did their jobs effectively.

MATCH RATING: ** Poor stuff for the most part, not helped by Birmingham’s outright refusal to commit more men to attack.


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