He might still be in the squad but England's performance last night proved the Chelsea skipper is no longer required at international level...
There was a refreshing honesty about the England team that fortuitously beat Spain yesterday, an honesty that has been greatly missing in recent years.
There wasn’t a great fluency in the play, nor was there any great moments of attacking ingenuity that never come as standard from an England team. It was a rugged, muscular performance as opposed to taking the game to Spain and somehow outplaying them.
There was still no first touch in the team, no obvious ball control and at no point did England look truly comfortable in possession.
However England looked strong, full of running and in old English fashion they were full of commitment, but not a headstrong, clumsy commitment that leads to reckless challenges and unnecessary yellow cards.
And it this element of the performance that truly emphasised something that I’ve been championing since we were so mercilessly taken apart by Germany in the World Cup, namely: that England don’t need John Terry.
To put aside all the character flaws that are so often introduced when discussing the current England captain, and to also entirely ignore the racism case currently being investigated, as much as some people are desperate to convict him, until it is proven otherwise he is still innocent.
England doesn’t need John Terry anymore because as a player he simply doesn’t cut it anymore. A player who always plays on the edge, a modern day Terry Butcher, a man who will play with a fractured skull and still go in for a diving header.
I’d like to think that this might be the end of the road not only for John Terry but for Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch too.
However it is the reckless abandon, the let me be the hero mentality, which will ultimately cost England dear. In the World Cup, rather than just keep his position, he dragged the whole defence out of line to attempt to be the hero.
He isn’t quick, doesn’t read the game well enough and needs a very sensible player alongside him to compensate for his utter recklessness.
He has been a truly great defender for Chelsea, an all time great for his club, but not for his country. His playing for England will always be remembered for moments like that diving header against Slovenia. A moment that makes people sit up and go “that’s what we need a bit of passion”, however this was an utterly pointless header. He didn’t even connect, and if he had he’d probably of diverted the ball into the net.
He is the England captain but he wasn’t missed at all from this perspective, with the John Terry that people actually quite like, Frank Lampard taking over the armband. He played his role well, scored, and lead the team sensibly without making it all about him.
There was such a cry for changes and an injection of fresh blood after the World Cup debacle, which Fabio Capello has in fact slowly delivered, adding new players into the team gradually, and yesterday there was a team full of commitment who did the job that was asked of them. As much as there was an outcry about Lampard keeping his place in the team, there is still room for Frank, but no room for his Chelsea teammate.
At centre back Phil Jagielka and Jolean Lescott played very sensibly, keeping their shape and never going to ground needlessly, reading the game well throughout. And if neither of these two had been fit there were enough options that could be realistically used.
Gary Cahill, Ryan Shawcross, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, are all more than capable of stepping up during the friendly matches prior to the European Championships, and with the future in mind I’d suggest that they are far more sensible options.
For too long this England team have failed when it matters, and they have been given countless opportunities to succeed. As a result I’d like to think that yesterday was the beginning of the end for a number of stalwarts.
Yesterday’s game was improved greatly by a lack of Hollywood passes, a pleasing lack of long balls pumped aimlessly to the big man, and no stupid last minute challenges. So on that I’d like to think that this might be the end of the road not only for John Terry but for Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch too.
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