I fear for Terry! Poor form and lack of game time could leave him vulnerable
21:30 GMT, 6 June 2012
It was difficult not to feel patriotic over the Jubilee weekend, so Rio Ferdinand’s pain at missing out on Euro 2012 will have been even greater than before.
It is such an honour to represent your country and Ferdinand will be feeling aggrieved that he hasn’t been given a proper explanation for being left out. I feel he still has something to offer. He’s played most of the season, has so much experience and has just been tossed to one side.
Ferdinand’s absence is heightened by John Terry’s form, which concerns me. He has played just 70 minutes since the last day of the season and had a very poor game at Liverpool a week before that.
Arrival: John Terry and Joe Hart (right) sign autographs for children after landing in Krakow
Terry has said he wished tournaments started straight after the season because that is when he is sharpest. He feels the time off leads to him losing his sharpness and that will very much be the case now. That means he will have to be very strong mentally. Luckily, that is one of his greatest assets.
Terry’s last game in a tournament for England was the 4-1 defeat by Germany at the 2010 World Cup, so he’ll just want to get through this without being embarrassed.
Fabio Capello backed Terry so far that he eventually fell on his sword for him. Now Roy Hodgson has backed him too, picking him ahead of Ferdinand, which means increased pressure and Terry will feel he has to deliver.
Mentally strong: Terry will need to concentrate to be at his best
If Terry’s hamstring injury keeps him
out at any point, I wouldn’t be too concerned. Phil Jagielka and Joleon
Lescott each played 90 minutes in the 1-0 win over Spain in November and
are more than capable.
There’s very little technically between Jagielka and Terry but the Chelsea captain’s experience is the reason he will surely start against France. Experience is vital at a major tournament. I remember going to Euro 92 as a 25-year-old and we had only one player older than 30 — Gary Lineker. We were inexperienced and felt the effect of that.
With Gary Cahill injured, Terry will probably play on the right of the central defensive pairing alongside Lescott, as the Manchester City man is left-footed. Usually Terry plays on the left, because he has been more comfortable on that side than whoever he partners.
Big role: Joleon Lescott (second left) is likely to start alongside Terry
That should not be a problem in
possession but defensively he will have to make some adjustments, as he
will no longer be next to his Chelsea colleague Ashley Cole. I played on
the right alongside Tony Adams and Sol Campbell but at Everton I played
on the left next to Dave Watson. If you’re adaptable it is not a
problem and it won’t be for Terry.
Lescott won’t be fazed by replacing Cahill. He is not as mobile as the Chelsea man but has had a good season and his movement has improved. He played plenty of games for Manchester City and got better as the season went on.
Roberto Mancini could have bought almost any central defender in world football but he has stuck with Lescott, which is a huge compliment. He is very strong in the air and very brave. His passing has improved and he has just won the Premier League so will be full of confidence.
Team: Scott Parker (left) and Glen Johnson (right) will help Terry try and keep clean sheets for England
A bonus for Lescott and Terry is the way Hodgson has set the team up. Two years ago against Germany, the defenders were isolated but now the midfield is very close to the defence, which means the centre backs won’t have to wander out into no-man’s land and then quickly change direction, which could expose them.
Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard and James Milner are making the space between defence and midfield very compact and are picking up the runners. The midfield are very disciplined and shift across, acting like a second back four. It helps a lot.