The former England captain won 78 caps for his country, but will never again represent the Three Lions after describing his “position with the national team untenable." Courtesy of the BBC, Terry officially released the following statement:
I am today announcing my retirement from international football. Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour.
I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish Roy and the team every success for the future.
I am making this statement today in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.
I now look forward to playing for Chelsea and challenging for domestic and European honours, and I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support.
I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I've played with.
I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career.
The “untenable” position that Terry refers to is in relation to the allegations of racial abuse made against him by Anton Ferdinand after a game between Chelsea and QPR last season. Terry was cleared of any wrongdoing in court, but the FA has decided to pursue its own inquest what is, of course, a very serious incident.
It would appear that Terry’s statement alludes to a discontent with the FA for its decision to launch another investigation into the matter. But if Terry is seeking sympathy for the way he is being treated, he should think again.
The FA is fully within it's rights to pursue matters further, and as a professional footballer and member of the England squad, Terry can have no complaints that his behaviour is under such close surveillance.
But for all of Terry’s imperfections off the pitch, he has been an inspirational leader and a magnificent player on it. And since this is a sports website, it is within the parameters of sport that John Terry shall be judged in this particular article.
Though highly decorated at club level, such accolades eluded Terry in an England shirt, as he frustratingly never progressed further than the quarter-finals in any major competition.
His most prestigious achievement was being selected to the FIFA Team of the Tournament squad in 2006 after his performances in that year’s World Cup.
He did weigh in with six goals for his country and can boast a record of having never lost a game when appearing on the scoresheet. He also holds the honour of being the first senior England player to score an international goal at the New Wembley Stadium.
But it was arguably the intangible assets that were Terry’s greatest contribution to the England team.
He was an archetypal leader who regularly demonstrated great courage and determination, perhaps best illustrated by his now-famous “Superman” impression when defending against Algeria in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup.
Such commitment made his on-the-field character particularly endearing to the England faithful.
And though his career has been marred by non-footballing controversies, he took his role very seriously and acted with sufficient professionalism when taking to the pitch for his country. After England’s embarrassing failure to qualify for Euro 2008, the skipper vowed to take full responsibility, despite the fact that the blame should not have been placed solely on his shoulders.
I personally feel that Terry’s retirement will be a great loss to England. Despite now being 31 years of age, he still had much to offer on the pitch as well as in the dressing room.
The presence of such a seasoned veteran when away at international tournaments can be of huge benefit to the team, particularly as the Three Lions are currently going through something of a transitional phase with a number of new faces being promoted to the senior squad.
However, England’s loss will of course be Chelsea’s gain.
Without the rigours of international football to play with, Terry will have more time to rest and recuperate. His seasons could be shortened by around ten games, thus enabling him to focus all of his mental and physical efforts on club football at Stamford Bridge.
In the long run, this could see his Chelsea career elongated for a number of years, something that will surely be warmly received by many a fan of the Blues.
He may not be the greatest role model off the pitch, but on it he will surely be remembered as one of England’s true great defenders. Comment below with your thoughts on John Terry and his international retirement, and let me know if you agree, or disagree, with any of my sentiments.
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