Paul Parker

Terry retiring is right for ‘footballing reasons’

Paul Parker

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Whatever the whys and the wherefores surrounding John Terry retiring from international football, it is a decision which should benefit England on the pitch.

I find it strange that he has waited until now to quit when he knew the FA hearing was coming for a while. If he really believes that the FA made his position "untenable" as he puts it, then that is just as much the case now as it was when they took the armband away from him for a second time before Euro 2012 and when he was found not guilty in his trial back in July.

Terry is one of the senior players who should not really be in contention for a place at the 2014 World Cup, and I mean that for the same "footballing reasons" which Roy Hodgson cited when leaving Rio Ferdinand at home for the Euros.

Terry had a good tournament in Poland and Ukraine, but it is clear that as he is very susceptible to pace. That forces him to drop deeper and, being the leader of the defence, the rest of the back line has to drop further back with him. That was fine when England were playing to avoid embarrassment under their new manager and they played conservatively with two flat banks of four. Now they have embarked on a two-year campaign, however, they must look to be more positive and have a more thorough game plan.

Hodgson clearly valued Terry highly, but I do not think he has much to worry about considering the other talented centre-backs he has at his disposal. Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill are all fine defenders in their own right. The fact that there are now genuinely two places in the team up for grabs is great for them.

As things stand at the moment, I would say Lescott and Jagielka should be England's first-choice partnership. Cahill is a better all-around footballer than Jagielka, but he is always going to be in and out of the Chelsea team as long as Terry and David Luiz are around. If he were to nail down a first-team place at Stamford Bridge then I would put him in with Lescott. Were that to happen, England would have two centre-backs who could both play well with the ball at their feet and would also both chip in with a few goals.

I am glad that Steven Gerrard is now free to continue in his role as England captain without his predecessor on the scene. He has thrived when wearing the armband, playing the best football of his England career.

Hopefully we can now return to the way things used to be, when there wasn't such a fuss over the captaincy. It was never such a big deal when Bryan Robson, Peter Shilton or Gary Lineker were named captain. It mattered in the dressing room, but everyone simply took not of it and quickly moved on. It was only when David Beckham was named the captain that the whole thing began to become a circus as the FA tried to turn the role into a PR exercise.

Perhaps, after everything that has gone on, they have learned their lesson.

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