Chelsea defender Gary Cahill is happy he turned down the Republic of Ireland.

England international Cahill is poised to partner Chelsea team-mate John Terry and provide a solid base as Roy Hodgson's outfit kick off their tournament in Ukraine against Laurent Blanc's men.

Cahill - who qualified thanks to his Irish grandad - was approached to play for Eire when Steve Staunton was in the hot seat.

"I saw him when I was ­playing for the reserves and then I started to get more and more first-team games.

"He knew Kevin McDonald, who was his Ireland No.2 and he was our reserve team coach at Villa.

"When I made the first team he kept coming to watch me play.

"He asked me if I would like to play for Ireland when I was 20 - but it just didn't feel right at all.

"The link comes from my grandfather, who was Irish - but he died before I really got to know him so I've only known my ­family as ­being English really.

"Also it would have felt odd ­because I'd ­already played for England Under-20s and Under-21s and so I thought that I might one day get that chance to play for the full national side."