Gary Cahill says it is “natural” for him to have been worried about his place in the Chelsea team because of the success the Blues have had in his absence.

Cahill, who was appointed Chelsea captain in the summer following the departure of John Terry, suffered a nightmare first game as skipper after he was sent off against Burnley in the opening game of the season.

Summer signing Antonio Rudiger was brought in to replace Cahill for Chelsea’s next three games, which all ended in wins for Antonio Conte’s side.

Cahill is available to play when Chelsea open up their Champions League campaign with a home clash against Qarabag on Tuesday, and the defender admitted he has tried to lead the team in the past few weeks despite being suspended.

He told reporters on Monday: “It’s natural. If you’re out the team, the team does well… I’m part of the squad and I’m an individual player.

“I’m available for selection now and whenever you’re available you can influence things. It’s about the team. It’s about the team doing well.

“You try to influence in the changing rooms. Nothing’s changed for me personally. It’s a great honour to be captain. It’s a responsibility.”

In Pictures | Leicester vs Chelsea | 09/09/2017

He added: “I’m itching to play and I’m looking forward to getting back involved with the squad now.

“The most frustrating thing is when you can’t play football. It was a large period of time that I was out. All you can do when you’re out is try to influence the lads.”