Chelsea captain Gary Cahill does not feel he has to prove himself to club or country after returning to Antonio Conte's starting XI.
The England defender was a mainstay in Chelsea's 2016-17 Premier League title triumph but has struggled for his best form this time around – somewhat encapsulating the Blues' limp defence of a crown that now lies in Manchester City's possession.
Cahill, 32, looked on as an unused substitute for matches against City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Barcelona over recent months but turned in an assured display at the heart of Conte's back three in Sunday's comfortable 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win against Southampton at Wembley.
He has now started all four Chelsea matches since defeat to Spurs at the start of the month – their first game back from the March international break when Cahill was omitted from Gareth Southgate's England squad in favour of the then-uncapped duo James Tarkowski and Alfie Mawson.
"I've been there before," said the centre-back before making a bullish defence of his credentials.
"I've been fortunate to have played the majority of the time I've been at this club. I've enjoyed success and I feel like I've been a big part of success – not just involved in winning trophies but involved heavily.
"So I feel I can contribute when I'm out there. But it's the manager's decision."
The prospect of England or Chelsea lining up without Cahill seemed unthinkable when he hoisted the Premier League trophy alongside John Terry 11 months ago.
Nevertheless, he is accepting of a relative fall from grace since the turn of the year and aiming to hit top form as Conte's men try to apply pressure on Liverpool and Tottenham above them in the final two top-four berths.
"Every time you come out of the team I know you don't just disappear, you don't just become a bad player overnight," Cahill said.
"Form, if you ride it out, means you come back to the level you should be at. I thought I played well against Southampton, did well against Burnley [Chelsea won 2-1 at Turf Moor last Thursday].
"I realise that's the situation for everybody, I realise the manager has decisions to make and I realise maybe I'm not getting any younger – far from it. But I'm fit and ready to go.
"I don't have to be going out with nerves, feeling that I have to prove things to everybody. I think I've done that before if you look over my career – playing in the Champions League, playing in the Premier League and playing for England.
"If I'm happy with the way I'm playing that's good enough for me because I know I'm at the level I should be. I'm my worst critic when I'm playing."
While qualifying for the Champions League is likely to prove out of reach for Chelsea, Cahill has another major honour and a second trip to a World Cup with England firmly in his sights.
"This is what playing football is all about – trying to reach finals and trying to lift trophies. We have the opportunity to do that now," he added.
"Let's see what happens at the end of the season. We're into the final now, the World Cup's coming. Let's wait and see."
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|
|Mourinho: Professionals care more than the fans|
|Casillas reaches 100 Champions League wins|
|Expansion franchise Cincinnati sign Garza, send Kamara to Rapids|
|Manchester City sign United States goalkeeper Steffen for reported £7m|
|Schalke 1 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Russians miss chance for Europa League reprieve|
|Galatasaray 2 Porto 3: Terim´s men into Europa League after penalty drama|
|Jackman leaves Dragons role|
|Tottenham boosted as Barcelona bench Messi|
|Mane and Henderson in Liverpool XI to face Napoli|
|Mourinho shoots down question over how to get the best from Pogba|
|Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns|
|Odriozola: I´m in love with Benzema, he´s the best number nine in the world|
|Vikings fire OC DeFilippo after loss to Seahawks|
|Marcelino suggests Valencia open to Batshuayi departure|
|Bottas to make rally debut in title-winning M-Sport Ford Fiesta|
|Kovac dismisses Pavard speculation|
|Yaya Toure leaves Olympiacos after just five appearances|
|Riise challenges Liverpool to banish Champions League disappointment against Napoli|
|We rallied around it - Durant on Green confrontation aftermath|
|Valencia ´p****d off´ with Fellaini´s controversial Young Boys winner - Soler|
|More must be done to combat racism at Premier League grounds – Chalobah|
|Napoli will not sack ´big signing´ Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De La|
|Guardiola not interested in ´exceptional´ Saul|
|Shai gives Windies hope with thrilling ODI run chase|
|Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern|
|Erasmus to work with Bulls as Springboks assist Super Rugby sides|
|Paul Gascoigne pleads not guilty to sexual assault|
|Joshua is ´begging´ for unification fight, claims Wilder|
|Silva, Fernandinho add to Guardiola´s injury woes|
|Hosszu storms to 14th gold, Seto smashes Le Clos´ world record|
|Raheem is an incredible human being - Guardiola rallies behind City star Sterling|
|Sexton pens IRFU extension until 2021|
|Ajax boss Ten Hag can do big things, says Bayern chief Rummenigge|
|He´s good at basketball – Kerr running out of superlatives for Curry|
|Green thrilled to make Warriors return in victory over Timberwolves|
|Madrid squad great and humble - Solari responds to Ronaldo|
|Langer unsure what to expect from Perth wicket|
|Fournette subjected to alleged racial abuse in Titans loss - Marrone|
|Better and better - Mbappe hails Neymar link|
|It´s the end of one of the best movies you could ever see - James pays tribute to retiring Wade|
|NASA invites Curry to see moon rocks|
|No plan B for LaLiga Miami game after Barcelona withdrawal|