Terry leaves big hole in England's defence… but who can fill it
21:30 GMT, 24 September 2012
There is no question England will miss John Terry’s leadership qualities.
There is a self-assurance and confidence that emanates from him and rubs off on everyone around him. It is his star quality in some ways.
But to maintain that confidence, Terry has to feel that his body will let him perform at the level he wants. He has been fighting injuries and I’m sure that will have played a part in his decision.
In the dock: John Terry was at Wembley for his FA hearing on Monday
Terry has always been a fighter and as a footballer you only let go when you realise your body won’t let you compete at the highest level. Once you realise it is becoming one injury after another, you have to protect your club career. Maybe it is the right time for Terry to go anyway.
Also, when you are a divisive character and have critics, the way you prove your doubters wrong is through your performances. Terry might feel he can’t do that any more and would receive double the criticism if he’s not playing well.
Over and out: Terry retired from international football on Sunday night
Still, with Rio Ferdinand seemingly not high up on Roy Hodgson’s agenda, Terry’s departure leaves the national team exposed ahead of the next World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
His lack of mobility and pace were obstacles at international level but the Chelsea captain could read the game well enough to not get caught out. Now others must step up in his absence.
Rio Ferdinand: Will Terry’s departure open the door for Ferdinand to return for England He’s certainly still good enough. Hodgson backed Terry ahead of Ferdinand for Euro 2012 — I don’t think that was the right decision — and the England boss might be doubting it himself now. If Ferdinand is good enough to play for Manchester United, he is good enough for his country. He never wastes a pass and has the pace to cope with international football. It is just a question of whether his body can manage club and country.
Still got it: Rio Ferdinand (centre) shone for Manchester United against Liverpool
Gary Cahill: He will step into Terry’s shoes for England and eventually for Chelsea. He is more mobile than Terry but not as dominant in the air. Like the former England captain, he weighs in with plenty of goals. He needs to play regularly for Chelsea rather than be in and out of the team as he has been.
In that sense, Cahill’s biggest problem is Terry, who stands in his way. He needs to finish his team-mate’s domestic career and maybe Terry is aware of the threat. Quitting international football will keep the 31-year-old fresher to fend off Cahill.
Joleon Lescott: I’ve seen a lot of confidence coming into his game, brought about by winning the Premier League title. His mobility still concerns me, but he deals with danger in a no-nonsense fashion and his distribution has improved immeasurably from playing with better players. Like Cahill and Terry, he is very strong in the air and scores goals for fun.
Main man: Joleon Lescott (centre) has been impressive for Manchester City
Micah Richards: With fewer English defenders playing for their clubs each week, Hodgson might have to be imaginative. Richards is a good option and performed well at centre back during the Olympics. In international football you need pace more than aerial dominance and Richards has so much of that, plus mobility and power. He could easily fill the role if he’s nurtured and developed.
Phil Jagielka: He is Everton’s Jamie Carragher, sniffing out danger and playing on the absolute limit. His pace is a worry but he has developed tremendously well. He senses danger better than most.
P.S Don’t forget Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at United, who have been unlucky with injuries. They will be key to England’s future.