John Terry is a character who divides opinion. Well, by divides, I mean Chelsea fans on one side and everyone else on the other, at least in terms of personality and character anyway. But, whilst it’s clear the majority of football fans despise him as a person, there is no questioning his effectiveness as a footballer.
Rightly lauded and adored by his own fans, he also earned the respect of England supporters before his decision to retire from international football following a publicised incident with Anton Ferdinand. Even prior to that, his alleged relations with the girlfriend of (then) team-mate Wayne Bridge caused friction at both club and international level and was likely a contributing factor towards his general public perception.
But, regardless of off field character, his performances in a Three Lions shirt were full of heart, spirit and unbridled commitment. Always willing to throw his body on the line, his leadership, organisation and general defensive awareness gave England a solidity at the back that has since been sorely missed.
And with the recent performances of Hodgson’s England side, these qualities – or lack of – were again highlighted as glaring omissions in the side overall. With midfield and attack looking as potent and fluent as any side in Europe at times, it made the deficiencies at the back, particularly centrally, all the more stark.
So much so, it has been reported that Roy is considering a shock recall for the Chelsea captain, such is the desperate situation in the defensive positions for the national side. And in this respect, this is a move that should also be noted by the decision-makers at Stamford Bridge.
Having not been offered a new contract by the west Londoners, Terry seem’s set to leave the club after 18 seasons of dedicated performances. But having seen how the national side has coped, or rather failed to cope, without his presence in the heart of defence, Chelsea must take note and seriously consider their decision to let him go at the end of the season. For they too could suffer the same fate as the national side and seriously miss the talismanic qualities of the 35-year-old central-defender.
Clubs must of course move on when players seem to be on the decline, his performances this season arguably not up to the high standard of previous campaigns, however, this may have had as much to do with the team’s problems as a whole, and his treatment from Jose Mourinho, as it had to do with his own ability. To have gone from a stalwart and ever-present in the title-winning side of last season to being deemed surplus to requirements less than a year later seem’s drastic and foolish, even by Chelsea’s standards.
In fact, it has already been suggested that probable new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has singled out a new contract for Terry as a priority, should he join the Blues in the summer. This would be a wise move the Italian’s behalf. The rebuilding job needed at the Bridge is a significant one, and one that can only be improved by an extra year on the contract of the Chelsea captain. It would aid the transition between the old guard and the new, whilst also maintaining some added quality at an important position.
While there are sure to be additions to the squad over the summer, Terry’s presence would surely be a positive. Kurt Zouma’s return from injury could by no means be a smooth one, and the talented young defender may not be match ready by the start of next season, whilst Gary Cahill’s performances have been questionable at best for the Blues recently. He lost his place to Zouma prior to the Frenchman’s injury and there is every chance he would still be on the bench at Stamford Bridge had the emerging defender stayed fit.
Handed the captain’s armband for the Germany game by Hodgson, and a favourite of the England boss, Cahill’s struggles were clear for all to see, the lack of quality from both himself, and the defence as whole, helping fuel the calls for Terry’s reinstatement. The same problems could easily face Chelsea, should they decide to carry through with the decision to release ‘JT’.