Antonio Conte has revealed that Gary Cahill will feature in his plans until the end of the season to give the England international some extra exposure and the best possible chance of making Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad.
The 32-year-old has fallen down the Italian manager's pecking order this season; with youngster Andreas Christensen establishing himself alongside Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in the Blues' defensive line.
Subsequently, the Three Lions boss axed the country's vice-captain from his latest squad due to his lack of game time at Stamford Bridge, putting both his World Cup spot and international future in jeopardy.
However, ahead of Chelsea's final four Premier League games and their FA Cup final showdown with Manchester United at the end of the term, Conte revealed to The Mirror that Cahill will feature regularly to give him the best possible opportunity of making Southgate's Russia-bound contingent.
“I think that Gary is deserving to play," the 48-year-old, who is expected to leave west London this summer, said. "To play and then to have the chance to go and play in the World Cup.
“We are talking about an important player for Chelsea. I think we are talking about an important player for the national team. He has great experience.
“I have the opportunity to rotate the three central defenders and make the best decision game by game. Christensen is playing an important season, his first for Chelsea in this pressure, and now I think it’s right to give an opportunity to Gary to play more. Also because I think he deserves this.
“He has played big competitions. I know that when you have to go to play this competition, the World Cup or European Championships, it’s important to have players with great experience because the pressure will become very strong for everyone.
“But, at the same time, I have always shown great respect for Southgate. I think he’s a really good, important manager. He has to make the best decision for the national team. I’m sure he will take the best decision.”