After announcing his decision to spend more time with his – or possibly someone else’s – family, we pick 5 people who are likely to benefit from John Terry’s retirement from international football.
1. Steven Gerrard
Even without the armband, John Terry liked to style himself as the de facto leader of the England team – casting a long shadow from which it was hard for players to escape.
The accumulated baggage that Terry brought with him to the England camp was a burden the rest of the squad never needed or benefitted from.
With Terry’s departure that’s now gone, leaving Gerrard as as the undisputed leader within the England team. Galvanised by his appointment as captain, Gerrard was arguably England’s best performer at Euro 2012. Hopefully, without Terry to cramp his style, his influence over the squad will grow.
2. Roy Hodgson
Despite regularly praising JT’s virtues as a player, Roy Hodgson is also likely to be breathing a sigh of relief. As we pointed out during Euro 2012, Terry’s days as a top level international looked increasing numbered due to his declining pace and vulnerability to the ball in behind the defence.
Terry’s decision to go into self imposed exile has spared Hodgson the inevitable soap opera which would have followed attempts to phase out, let alone drop, the Chelsea defender. And given that Terry did on occasion seem to believe that he was the England manager and in charge of team selection (see the fiasco at the World Cup in South Africa) Roy will no longer have to worry about him sparking another mutiny.
With one of the big beasts of the England squad put out to pasture there is, what I like to imagine anyway, a Phil Jagielka shaped hole in the centre of England’s defence. A consistent performer over many seasons, he’s missed out at international level due to the plethora of centre back options and a preference for Champions League hardened defenders. Back in the spotlight with Everton’s impressive start to the season, Jagielka finally has the chance to make the England no.6 shirt his own.
Could the door to an England return for Rio Ferdinand have opened? Whilst the obstacle that was John Terry has been removed, it is Hodgson himself who now remains the problem.
Ahead of selection for the Euro’s the England manager was put into an impossible situation by the bad blood between the two players. Dealt a bad hand, Roy played it as best he could, enduring several awkward media grillings as he tried to justify excluding Ferdinand from the squad. Having been through the mill on that it’s hard to imagine Hodgson putting himself through a similar inquiry by selecting Rio. Stranger things have happened in football though.
5. Roberto Di Matteo
I’ve long thought that John Terry wouldn’t play much after 30. Injuries have taken their toll and the aforementioned lack of pace is catching up with him. Reluctant ever to miss a game, the Chelsea captain has played with injuries on many occasions, often to the detriment of his performace.
But with the international weeks providing regular for rest and recuperation, the ultimate beneficiary of Terry’s retirement may be Roberto Di Matteo who will have a fully fit player in his dressing room, eager to show people what their country are missing.
Written by James Albion