Early Doors

Chelsea better off without Terry

Early Doors

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John Terry: May wear that armband to bed

JT: Captain, Leader, Legend

So says the banner at Stamford Bridge, and the great man's latest act of remarkable self-sacrifice will bear fruit in Munich tomorrow night.

You see, despite his waning powers, John Terry simply cannot get himself dropped. This week's England squad confirmed it.

However badly he is playing, whatever else might be going on, England's brave lionheart remains one of the first names on the team sheet.

Nobody seems to realise that, after a career dogged by niggling injuries he is a cynical parody of the player he used to be.

Nobody, that is, except JT himself, who fell on his sword and got himself sent off in the semi-final, allowing younger, faster players to take his place in the final.

And Terry will be free to do what he does best - bellowing instructions over Roberto Di Matteo's shoulder.

What a man.

Early Doors jests, of course, but Terry's absence through suspension does feel like a blessing now Gary Cahill and David Luiz appear fit to play.

Terry has lost speed and agility - he made the lumbering Andy Carroll look spry and skilful in two recent matches against Liverpool.

The Premier League match at Anfield made for particularly painful/hilarious viewing (depending on your allegiance). Terry got nutmegged three times in half an hour and was culpable for three of Liverpool's four goals.

He also fell over repeatedly, despite Ray Wilkins's insistence on TV commentary that Terry wears the longest studs available - honestly, did you think JT would come up short on the stud front?

And his red card in the semi-final illustrated how the game has made him a quaint irrelevance. 'Putting the frighteners' on an opponent is no longer an option - yet Terry has little else in his armoury against tiny, technical tiki-taka.

It is difficult to know what he is good at any more. All his remaining qualities are mere tabloidisms like 'fight' and 'courage'.

As blogger Andrew Thomas put it when Terry played with a cracked rib: 'Too much heart for a normal ribcage.'

Not that mental strength is unimportant - just that its intangibility makes it possible to see it where it does not exist.

Also, you might be Britain's Bravest Man but that is not much use if your body is unable to carry out your indomitable brain's instructions. Plus, there is only so much you can achieve by putting your face in the way of opposing striker's boot.

Of course, ED is not saying this is the end of John Terry. The man is likely to start for England at Euro 2012 (yikes!) and he has enough self-belief to project the illusion that he is still a top player.

But, four years after his fateful penalty miss cost Chelsea the Champions League, Terry has given his side the best chance of victory by ensuring he is not involved tomorrow night.

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Here's a thing: a Champions League final that actually feels a little under-hyped.

One of the reasons for moving the match from Wednesday to Saturday was to allow it a full week of build-up, largely unhindered by matches elsewhere

Instead, the game has been submerged under an avalanche of happenings - the incredible Premier League finish and subsequent 'RIP Fergie' kerfuffle, Roy Hodgson's England squad, and the departures of Kenny Dalglish and Alex McLeish (it took ED a while to remember that had happened).

Having got used to saturation preview coverage, ED feels a little bit undercooked ahead of tomorrow night.

Not to worry - there are still 35 hours of rolling news between now and kick-off. Let the Marienplatz voxpops commence.

On which note, we will be LIVE in Munich throughout today and tomorrow, bringing you all the latest developments (plus a whole heap of nonsense) ahead of the big match.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It seems like Ferguson is the president of England. When he speaks badly about a player, nobody says he has to apologise but when someone comes out with a joke, you have to say sorry. I don't say sorry."

There really is something quite magnificent about the frequency with which Carlos Tevez torpedoes his own PR machine.

What he 'said' on Tuesday after brandishing that 'RIP Fergie' banner: "I got carried away in the excitement of the moment and I certainly didn't mean any disrespect to Sir Alex Ferguson, who I admire as a man and a manager."

FOREIGN VIEW: If you haven't read Andy Mitten's end-of-season La Liga awards, do so. It's very good.

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