Few footballers in the English game today polarise opinion as much as John George Terry. To his supporters he’s a warrior with the heart of a lion and to many Chelsea fans he’s simply their “Captain, Leader, Legend”. To his detractors Terry is a nasty boor, an arrogant individual whose powers are on the wane.
Having been found guilty by an independent commission of using racist language towards Anton Ferdinand the door to Terry’s England career look well and truly shut. Terry’s decision to retire from the international game prior to the judgment suggests that he felt the charge would be upheld. Even if he wins his appeal the likelihood of him donning the Three Lions jersey again seem slim, though stranger things have happened.
There have been a slew of articles commenting on the verdict, Terry’s character and the ramifications of the decision on the wider game and understandably so but in terms of the England team what have they gained and lost by the Chelsea captain’s decision to retire? Terry hasn’t made life easy for himself with the image he’s cultivated for himself both deliberately and unwittingly and again it’s understandable, perhaps correct even, that critics and supporters alike judge him with all the baggage that he carries but purely in football terms what have England lost and gained?
For a start, and there’s no point disguising the fact, John Terry is a very good defender. At the very least he’s one of the better English central defenders playing today. There is a reason why at the international level he was picked by Sven-Göran Eriksson, Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and most recently Roy Hodgson. Of the 78 games he played for England 50 ended in victory, 18 in draws and 10 in defeat resulting in a win percentage of 64.1%. Terry missed 32 games during his England career and according to Opta of those 32 matches there were 19 wins, 5 draws and 8 defeats, a win percentage of 59.4%.
Just for a bit of perspective in terms of competitive losses, Terry has featured in the 4-1 defeat against Germany at the 2010 World Cup, the 1-0 defeat against Ukraine in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers and the 2-0 away defeat against Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Without Terry, England lost 3-2 at home to Croatia and 2-1 away to Russia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.