John Terry’s racism trial could yet prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Chelsea captain
John Terry. Once viewed as the embodiment of England’s fighting spirit, is now seen as the enemy within by many fans and pundits alike.
A slippery slope of extra marital affairs, missed handshakes and a court hearing regarding a racial incident with Anton Ferdinand have turned him into the badman of football. He is every bad guy from every film you’ve ever seen rolled into one.
Such is the distaste for him at the moment that I wouldn’t be surprised to read an article in one of the tabloids claiming that he drowns kittens for fun.
The peculiar decision to delay his trial over racial abuse allegations until 9 July – after the European Championships – has caused much controversy, with Reading striker Jason Roberts publically stating on Twitter that he shouldn’t attend the tournament and that his presence will have a “toxic” effect on the squad.
And if he is proved to be guilty then he fully deserves his punishment. Being stripped of the captaincy is surely just the beginning of this.
However, the combined public and press kicking that Terry has so far received may yet prove to be a well hidden blessing in disguise for the Chelsea captain, as so far it has largely taken attention away from the fact that he’s been far from his best recently.
This season has been a disappointment for him. Usually a leader of men and excellent organiser of a rigid defence, Chelsea and their captain have spent much of this term at sea, adrift of their usual title race comfort.
Uncharacteristic defeats and performances have meant that Chelsea look set to fight for Champions League scraps this season.
And Terry’s performance’s have been off-colour on a number of occasions. For example he was repeatedly outjumped and outmuscled by Norwich’s Grant Holt in their goalless draw at Carrow Road in January and his wayward positioning allowed Stiliyan Petrov time to control the ball and fire into the corner in Villa’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge on new year’s eve.
An absence of international matches over the Christmas period has perhaps also helped his cause, as the issue of national selection has not been a hot topic.
There are however, numerous suitable competitors for his position at the back. Terry’s usual defensive partner Rio Ferdinand has spent much of the season merking himself though and while his teammates Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have shown much promise, their inexperience and tendency to be played elsewhere on the pitch make them a gamble at the heart of defence.
Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott perhaps has the strongest case for selection, as does teammate Micah Richards, although he’s primarily been played at right-back. Chelsea’s new signing Gary Cahill and Everton’s Phil Jagielka have shown sporadic form and Michael Dawson last played at the end of August due to an achilles injury.
This lack of concentrated competition only serves to exaggerate his enduring and somewhat surprising authority at the centre of England’s defence.
Therefore, a season of adequacy on the pitch could yet see Terry squeeze into the England team beneath a veil of controversy.Tags: Chelsea, England, Euro 2012, John Terry, Premier League
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