We don’t want to keep banging on about England and international football after desperately looking forward to it finishing before it had already begun last week. No one likes international breaks – don’t even pretend you do because you don’t.
But England’s win over Germany and that ‘typical England’ home defeat to the Netherlands happened to uncover a number of questions we all thought had been answered a while ago. Are England any good? Not really. Is Jamie Vardy just a flash in the pan at international level? Actually, no he isn’t. Is John Stones the world class England defender we’ve all been crying out for? Not yet.
It’s that last one that had a number of us asking whether it’s worth taking another look at John Terry, mostly as a mentor to the likes of Stones during an international tournament this summer. Stones’ wobbly performance against Holland may not have happened if he’d have had John Terry in his head, whispering sweet nothings about being composed on the ball – and also reminding him to put his studs in before kick-off!
So should Hodgson consider recalling Terry to the England fold, or has the Chelsea legend had his day in the sun? Here’s what our best writers think…
No – unless there’s an injury crisis
John Terry is still England’s best defender on paper and centre-back is the Three Lions’ weakest department, so in theory it’s a no-brainer – especially considering the squad’s overall lack of tournament experience and captain Wayne Rooney’s race to regain his fitness.
But England’s 3-2 win over Germany owed much to the youthful enthusiasm and mobility of Roy Hodgson’s latest squad and Terry’s ageing legs contradict that entirely. The Chelsea captain’s lack of pace has often forced the Blues to play in a certain way, setting up deep whilst protecting him with a defensively-minded left-back and a top-quality holding midfielder.
England don’t have that luxury; it remains to be seen who’ll start in the engine room and the adventurous Leighton Baines is Hodgson’s first choice of No.3; so making room for Terry will require a tactical rethink and potentially other changes in personnel.
If Terry had been called up for the recent friendlies, Hodgson could’ve given him a test run alongside Chris Smalling. But it’s now too late in the day to make such substantial changes so unless there’s an injury, I’d stick with Stones, Cahill, Jagielka and Smalling.
Everyone accepts that this England squad is both obscenely young yet excitingly talented. And with that in mind, surely everyone would also accept that this tournament, like the last one, is not one where pressure to lift a trophy should burden such young shoulders.
Instead, this is a tournament where the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane can gain experience of major international competition and one where more experienced players like Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling can experience taking a more senior role. It’s worth remembering that this is a team of diamonds in the process of being cut, not one that should be targeting victory as its sole requirement in this tournament. That comes later.
And so why bring back John Terry? If England seemed only one player from victory in this tournament then it would make sense to bring back a player who can add steel to the defence, but they aren’t. It will take more than a 35 year old John Terry to assure England of victory in July.
So despite an encouraging victory over World Champions Germany, it’s time to get back to the lower expectation of what this tournament is about for England: experience, progress and optimism for the future, not pressure to perform instantly. This tournament is part of a bigger process, and that process will still be happening long after John Terry has hung up his boots for good.
That isn’t to say John Terry is not still one of the best centre-backs in England, but to recall him now would be too daming an indictment on the current crop.
With so much excitement over this new incarnation of the England team, bringing back a 35-year old who hasn’t played internationally since 2012 would be a huge mistake. With Wayne Rooney’s position under scrutiny, where’s the sense in bringing back Terry?
Clearly, the Rooney situation is because of the abundance of players in forward positions playing well. However, it’s not as if big JT has been his usual rock at centre-half with the Blues this season.
If the Chelsea skipper was performing as well as he was last season, then yes perhaps a speical case could be made for him. But no, not this time around.
He’s not been playing that well and we don’t need him that badly.
Despite his club allegiance, I have a lot of respect for John Terry for what he has achieved on the pitch. In a club that has had countless players come and go over the Roman Abramovich era, the centre-half has been the one constant and a reliable figure at Stamford Bridge.
However, there is no rational argument to suggest that Terry should be recalled for England.
Roy Hodgson will already have an idea of the squad he will take to France, with only a handful of personnel decisions left to make.
If the idea of bringing Terry back had been in his head, surely the Chelsea man would have been reintegrated before now.
Even if Terry was in the form of his life, which at 35 he isn’t, I don’t believe England need him. Hodgson has stated that he has a lack of left-sided centre-halves at his disposal, but looking at it objectively he is not short of options at the heart of his defence.
Chris Smalling is a guaranteed starter in France, while Gary Cahill is a reliable option. However, John Stones, despite a slight dip in form of late, is the man to partner Smalling at the heart of England’s rearguard.
Terry’s day in the national set-up is done. His time at Chelsea is coming to an end. There is a reason the Blues wanted to spend tens of millions on Stones – he is the next generation and it is his time to shine on the biggest stage given that Terry has been there, done it and is now a diluted version of his former self.
I respect John Terry as a player thanks to his quite frankly amazing achievements with Chelsea over the course of the past 10-15 years, but what is the point in risking ruining the current optimism and good feeling around the England set-up by recalling him?
Right now it seems that fans are pretty united behind Roy Hodgson’s team with its young core, and although there are defensive frailties, I doubt that a 35-year-old Terry is the answer.
We should go with John Stones and Chris Smalling and continue to build towards the 2018 World Cup, as the ceiling for the EUROs is, as hard as it is to accept, pretty low for the Three Lions.
In a word, no. England are beginning a footballing revolution with the antics of Dier, Alli, Vardy and Kane and they need to instil as much of that free-spirit style in the team as possible.
John Terry, although still one of the better centre-halves, would restrict the options for this England team tactically and force them to sit deeper. Even if this summer’s Euros don’t go to plan, it should all be about making sure the squad is fully prepared to mount a serious challenge at the controversial Russian World Cup in 2018.
John Stones and Chris Smalling will be better in a couple of years time, whilst John Terry will be heading towards MLS football or a cosy retirement in Surrey.
Terry would definitely assist the development of the other players in the short-term and, when England are short of options in the heart of defence, it is hugely tempting. Hodgson should resist the Terry carrot dangling and opt for the younger options.