LONDON • Chelsea defender Gary Cahill admits that he could follow John Terry out of Stamford Bridge if he does not force his way back into the team's starting line-up on a regular basis.
Terry surprisingly revealed on Sunday that he is set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season after being told by the club's hierarchy that he will not be offered a new deal when his current contract expires.
Ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash at Watford today, there is a chance that fellow centre-back Cahill could join him at the exit door.
The England vice-captain has played more than 170 games for Chelsea but has made only 12 league appearances this season - two as a starter - as Kurt Zouma and Terry have been preferred.
A Champions League and Premier League winner with Chelsea since arriving from Bolton in 2012, Cahill fears his sudden exile will damage his chances of featuring at Euro 2016 and could force him to take the unwanted step of considering joining a club who can satisfy his desire for first-team action.
NOT A BENCH WARMER
Ultimately, I feel like I need to play matches. I've always been that way. It's always been in my make-up to play a high percentage of games. I want to be out there and be a big part of things if I possibly can.
GARY CAHILL, on his wish to play more first-team matches for Chelsea this season.
"I did have a good chat with him, he was very approachable and it was beneficial, very positive," he said of a recent meeting with Hiddink. "Obviously I want to be at the club. I signed a four-year contract a couple of months ago, so that shows I want to be here.
"I'm settled here, I've had a lot of success here and my family are settled here. But, ultimately, I feel like I need to play matches.
"I've always been that way. It's always been in my make-up to play a high percentage of games. I want to be out there and be a big part of things if I possibly can."
Terry's revelation that he is on the way out could be a boost to Cahill's hopes of forcing his way back into the line-up in the long term.
But for now the 30-year-old, who is reportedly a target for Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, will have to wait anxiously to see if he retains his place for the trip to Vicarage Road after starting alongside Terry in Sunday's 5-1 FA Cup fourth-round win at MK Dons.
Unbeaten in eight games in all competitions since Hiddink replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho, Cahill says the troubled champions are slowly returning to peak form.
"Obviously the first half of the season was a disaster but we look like we're heading in the right direction," he said. "When you get results and don't lose games, it breeds confidence and everything kind of comes back. I wouldn't say we're totally there yet but we're definitely going in the right direction."
However, Chelsea's renaissance is likely to receive a stern test from a Watford side who, having already frustrated the Blues in a 2-2 draw on Boxing Day, would love to secure their first win over the west London side since September 1999.
Quique Sanchez Flores' team bounced back from four straight top-flight losses with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United in their last league game and are buoyed by their 1-0 FA Cup victory at Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Watford are four points above Chelsea in their first season back in the top flight and the Spanish coach puts that success down to his players' willingness to take responsibility.
"I trust a lot in the players, they are working really hard during the week," he said. "I've been working five, six months with this team, they deserve a lot of credit."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
WATFORD V CHELSEA
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