As Chelsea moved to within a point of winning the title at the King Power Stadium, it was once again their captain that drove them to maximum points. With the game all tied up, John Terry, as he has now done as many times as any other defender in the history of the Premier League, scored the goal to put his team in front and on course for the title.
After his induction into the PFA team of the year; questions are again being asked as to why the captain of the champions cannot make it into the national side. Will the man who will be lifting the Premier League trophy for the fourth time, ever play for England again?
It has now been over two and half years since the Chelsea skipper announced his retirement from international football; at the time England seemed to have players in the mould who were ready to step up to the plate. Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were beginning their international adventures, whilst Cahill and Jagielka had a burgeoning partnership in the heart of Roy Hodgson’s defence.
As well as his England career coming to an end it seemed destined that his career at Chelsea would be coming to a similar conclusion. A combination of injuries and some manager’s reluctance to rely upon the 34 year old were beginning to curtail the level of impact he had enjoyed for so many years. Add to this a loss of form and his exclusion from the national side certainly didn’t seem to be an oversight and quite frankly he was undeserving of a place in Hodgson’s young England side.
However the return of Mourinho, the man whom he has had so much success with previously, made him as central to his plans as he was in his previous stint at the club. With Terry finally enjoying a consistent run in the side and managing to stay injury free for a long period of time, it has allowed him to reach and even surpass the levels seen of him previously.
This season he has been inspirational for his side and his omission from the shortlist for Player of the Season was a baffling one. At the same time as this, no English centre back has managed to make the position their own during Terry’s international wilderness. All these factors coming together, as well as England’s dismal World Cup campaign means there is a clamour for the re-introduction of ‘JT’ in the England side. So the question for Roy, is it right to bring the former skipper back into the squad?’
Although Terry’s resurgence has been staggering and he has arguably been the standout English performer of the season; England are entering a new era. For all of his admirable qualities there will still be some who oppose his inclusion, he has become much of a Marmite figure in football. After England’s immense failings last summer Hodgson is trying to rebuild the nation’s faith in his young team and bringing a divisive 34 year old back into the fray may undo a lot of the hard work that has gone on.
John Terry’s international retirement has meant he has been able to continue putting in the kind of performances that still flummox even the world’s best strikers. He has accepted his England career is over, whether people agree or not, they must accept the same realisation.
He is quite rightly still a symbol of Chelsea’s present, but he is now England’s past.