The Steady Eddie who can be relied upon in a crisis, ready to step in and do the job without fuss.
Cahill tonight in Dortmund won his 53rd cap for his country, and skippered the team for the fifth time. Already England's vice captain, the Chelsea centre back could well get the job full-time, with Wayne Rooney's England future increasingly uncertain.
A captain either needs to be an inspirational, vocal figure on the pitch – or a player with experience, who has seen it, done it, worn the t-shirt. Cahill, now 31, is unmistakably the latter. But he has won numerous trophies with Chelsea, been at World Cups and European Championships.
Cahill has captained Chelsea ever since the first month of the season, when Blues manager Antonio Conte changed his system and normal skipper John Terry lost his place.
Gary Cahill has quietly established himself as England's Mr Reliable
Cahill won his 53rd cap for England in the defeat to Germany
A similar situation appears to be happening effectively with England, with Rooney, the same age as Cahill, injury-prone and less sure of his first team place at Manchester United. The former Aston Villa and Bolton player has in each case stepped in to fill the breach.
While at club level Cahill will never be as loved by the fans as Terry, and nor is he same type of inspirational, lead from the front chest-beating warhorse as the Stamford Bridge legend, he is instead the quiet man getting on with the job, weighing in with the odd vital goal, such as the winner in the final few minutes at Stoke on Saturday which pushed Chelsea an inch closer to the Premier League title.
Under Conte, Cahill has shown himself adaptable to a new defensive system – and has become a better player with the ball at his feet. As for England Cahill is in many ways the ideal captain and was, goalkeeper Joe Hart, aside, probably the natural choice for coach Gareth Southgate in Rooney's absence.
The problem is that Cahill will be suspended on Sunday against Lithuania – so who could Southgate choose other than Hart? Last night, against top quality opposition, Southgate had the opportunity to cast his eye over some other potential leaders on the pitch.
Gareth Southgate experimented with a different formation against Germany
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In the intensity of the Westfalenstadion, even though this was only a friendly, a cool head was needed. Games against Germany are never really friendlies – at least to England. Jordan Henderson ruled out by injury, has also skippered England, as has Chris Smalling.
The England manager was robbed of another strong candidate when Manchester United's Phil Jones – was injured in the preparations for last night's game. Tottenham's Eric Dier has led his team at club level. Adam Lallana could be another candidate.
Lallana was busy and vocal, and almost broke the deadlock as he raced clear but hit the inside of the post. Dier also was giving directions from further back, and calmly passing his way out of trouble. The Tottenham man has a physical presence about him. Hart's voice, of course, could also be heard.
England had been the better team in the first half, but had missed their chances. Joachim Low's side were mush livelier after the break though, and England came under greater pressure. Dier though could have scored, Marc-Andre ter Stegen pushing his shot away.
England player ratings against Germany
Wed, March 22, 2017
Express Sport brings you England's player ratings from their defeat to Germany
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Joe Hart – 6
England could count themselves slightly unfortunate that Lukaz Podolski, playing his last game for Germany, put them ahead with a 35 yard rocket. They had created the better chances.
The conclusions for Southgate? Hart will probably captain against Lithuania – but Southgate does now have other options. There are leaders in this team. Inspirational figures, maybe not. But then maybe that is a sign of the times. We don't breed that many John Terry's – or Bobby Moore's for that matter.
Quite a lot of Steady Eddie's though. The question is – is that enough?