Chelsea captain John Terry recently made his 600th appearance for the club, joining a select group of Chelsea legends including “Chopper” Harris, Frank Lampard and Peter Bonetti who have reached the impressive tally.
Terry, who made his senior debut for Chelsea in 1998, recently sat down with Chelsea Magazine to discuss the achievement as well as other Chelsea-related topics. The magazine issue goes on sale next week, but here are excerpts of the John Terry interview that has been provided to World Soccer Talk. For the entire interview as well as other Chelsea-content, the latest edition of Chelsea magazine will be available to download on your tablet from January 13 at www.chelseafc.com/mobile
Q: How have you been able to maintain the same determined approach to play at the same high level game after game, season after season?
John Terry (JT): “I think it comes down to maintaining a level of performance, no matter what status you have at the club. Growing up with the likes of Michael Duberry, Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly definitely improved my game. Not only because of the way they looked after me or the education they gave me through watching them play and training with them on a daily basis — they had the time to talk to a 17-year-old who was trying to learn his trade – but also through me wanting to stay out there after sessions and wanting to improve on what they told me.
“We had good youth-team coaches around at the time as well. Ted Dale, Jim Duffy and Mick McGiven with the reserves as well as Ray Wilkins and Graham Rix – these kinds of coaches were working with me not only during training, but afterwards as well.
“I was told to work on my left foot, my heading, my speed and my quick feet and that is something we went out there and actually did.
“At that time, I was in digs away from my family and the last thing I wanted to do was go back and sit in my room, so I decided to make sure I stayed back every day and worked on my game and on every one of those attributes I mentioned.”
Q: Was it always your intention to become a ball-playing centre-half?
JT: “I remember Frank Leboeuf had the best range of passing I have ever seen and I wanted to add that to my game. Having started in midfield, I always felt comfortable on the ball and I was always good at using both feet, which – out of everything – is something I always made a point of working on, because I didn’t see too many players who could do that.”