Former Aston Villa man confesses recent transfer speculation took its toll and that as a result he was happy to have distraction of international duty with England
Cahill was heavily linked with moves to Arsenal and Tottenham on the final day of the transfer window, but negotiations ceased with neither club willing to match Bolton’s valuation – believed to be in excess of £15 million – of their star man.
However, the 25-year-old showed no ill effects of the ordeal in Sofia, where he scored the opening goal and producing an assured display as England comfortably defeated Bulgaria 3-0 to take control of Group G, but afterwards admitted all the speculation had taken its toll.
"I've not experienced that on a deadline day before," the centre-back told reporters.
"But to be honest it was different from what you saw on the TV as there wasn't a decision for me to take.
"It was just a matter of me thinking of what was happening, wondering if [Bolton] were going to accept a bid or not.
"It was obviously a bit mentally tiring and then when the window was shut it was a question of focusing on the job in hand [against Bulgaria].
"There were lots of thoughts and I'm not going to lie as it affected me a little bit.
"But I'm basically a laid-back character and I don't tend to let many things bother me.
"It was just a case, when the window shut, of knowing where I'm going to be and re‑focusing a bit, enjoying my training and looking forward to the game."
When asked whether he thought his recent performances have helped established him with the Three Lions, Cahill replied: "I'd like to think so.
"It was a great end to a sticky week so I was pleased with that.
"From the [England] manager's point of view, hopefully he knows he can rely on me to start or come on."
Having failed to secure a move to one of the country’s top clubs, Cahill knows he will have to try and keep his place without playing Champions League football, but hopes carrying on his good form for Bolton will be sufficient.
"Touch wood, I'm still getting my opportunities for England which I am thankful for," he added.
"I just need to keep my head down and work as hard as I can for Bolton. Hopefully my performances there will be enough."