John Terry shouldn’t go to the European Championships with England. There, we’ve said it.
A lot has already been written about whether the Chelsea captain should be representing his country anyway with a charge of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand hanging over him.
But it’s not for this reason that Thoughtsport think Terry should be left kicking his heels when Roy Hodgson takes his squad to Poland and Ukraine. No.
We contest that Terry has lost it. He’s just not the player he once was and, at 31, England should be looking elsewhere.
The case for the defence
Terry’s decline has been slow, steady but he’s definitelydeclining. Chelsea have been leaking goals lately. This season they’ve conceded 41 goals in the Premier League (with two games yet to come). In his, and Chelsea’s, pomp they were a much tighter ship.
As the graphic below shows, Chelsea have been getting progressively ‘leakier’. Now that may not be entirely Terry’s fault — selling Ricardo Carvalho; the doomed tactics of Andre Villas Boas; the rocky start made by David Luiz; the dip in form of Petr Cech etc. are all factors. However, Terry himself is also a factor — a large one.
Speaking of ‘large’, Terry has always relied on one key asset of his game. The line between good players and top players is usually excelling in one (or more) aspects of the game (think: Michael Owen, exceptional pace; Paul Gascoigne, exceptional dribbling).
Terry’s exceptional talent was his size and strength — which made him good in the air and solid in the tackle, ideal for a centre-half. He was never the quickest, but he had enough pace to get himself out of trouble if needed. Paired with a ‘playmaking’ centre half, like Rio Ferdinand, Terry was the perfect foil. The grit to Ferdinand’s craft.
“He’s behind you!”
Recent events have shown some gaping (and growing) flaws in Terry’s game.
Take the two matches against Liverpool. The first, the FA Cup Final. The second the Premier League clash. Both were big games for Chelsea, one for a trophy the other for a coveted Champions League place.
Admittedly Chelsea won one and lost one, picking up a trophy along the way. Not bad.
If you watched the game(s) you may already know what’s coming. Terry’s errors. In reverse chronological order:
- He slips to gift the ball to Jordan Henderson, who scores Liverpool’s second goal at Anfield
- Andy Carroll easily beats Terry on the turn at Anfield. Result, a clumsy, cynical challenge to bring Carroll down earns Terry a yellow card
- He’s nutmegged by Luis Suarez at Anfield. Result, Suarez shoots wide
- He’s tricked by Carroll again at Anfield
- He’s tricked by Carroll again (Andy Carroll!) on the edge of his own six yard box at Wembley. Result: Carroll smashes it into the roof of the net. Goal.
Toss in the torrid time Terry and co. had from, an admittedly resurgent Carroll, for half an hour at Wembley and it’s not looking good for ‘JT’.
Being nutmegged by Luis Suarez is no shame, better players than Terry will suffer that fate. It was the tangle Terry got himself in chasing Carroll, not the most nimble of players at the best of times, that have sealed his fate in Thoughtsport’s eyes.
If Carroll can do that to Terry, what will the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery do at the Euros? It almost doesn’t bear thinking about.
Thoughtsport don’t like doing down players without positive alternatives. Any hack can say”So and so is crap.” it takes a little more invention to say who should replace them.
Whilst England toiled over and dragged out the decision of whom should replace Fabio Capello, we were advocates of the school of thought that said: “Write of the Euros, we won’t win it. Let Stuart Pearce take a few kids and give them some experience — it worked wonders for Germany.”
With Roy Hodgson in charge that won’t be the case. It is extremely likely Terry will be on the plane to eastern Europe. However, we’d advocate another route. Take four centre-backs (plenty for a tournament). On form the top four Englishmen would be:
- Joleon Lescott (an under-rated season, in the formidable shadow of Vincent Kompany, at a City side that could be champions)
- Phil Jagielka (already in the England shake-up and ‘rested’ after coming back from injury)
- Gary Cahill (already out performing Terry at Stamford Bridge)
- Rio Ferdinand (older than Terry but his time off injured has enabled him to adapt his game around his ever decreasing pace)
Throw in Micah Richards who can play right back or centre back and Chris Smalling (as a nod to his future/potential) and England don’t need Terry as much as some might think.
No room for extra baggage
That’s the footballing reason we think Terry should be omitted from Euro 2012. Sprinkle in the pending court case; the captaincy debacle; the simmering tension with Rio Ferdinand; the needless red-card against Barcelona and countless other off-field distractions Terry brings and the argument becomes rather compelling.
Bear in mind as well as Ibrahimovic et al, all England’s opponents will have been watching Terry’s toils (both on and off the field). As that red card against Barcelona showed the one time England skipper is liable to ‘lose it’ in key matches. Terry will be targetted in the same way Wayne Rooney is. Opponents will know he’s a walking red card waiting to happen, especially with the more fussy big tournament refereeing.
Drop Terry. Will it happen? We doubt it. For argument’s sake we’ll name our 23-man squad now:
Goalkeepers x 3
Joe Hart; Ben Foster; Paul Robinson
Defenders x 8
Rio Ferdinand; Phil Jagielka; Joleon Lescott; Gary Cahill; Micah Richards; Kyle Walker; Ashley Cole; Glenn Johnson.
Midfielders x 8
Steven Gerrard; Gareth Barry; Scott Parker; Frank Lampard; Michael Carrick; Ashley Young; Theo Walcott; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wayne Rooney; Daniel Sturridge; Danny Welbeck; Andy Carroll.
Swap Richards for Terry and we suspect this may not be far off what ‘Woy’ picks.