John Terry – Tearway Incidents
England’s campaign in the EURO 2008 qualifiers has not been as straightforward as McClaren and Terry would have wished, but no-one could doubt Terry’s commitment to his twin causes of club and country as he played on for both despite toe and cheekbone injuries.
The facial fracture, suffered in a collision with Clint Dempsey in a league game against Fulham, would have ruled out any other player for several weeks but not Terry. He merely donned a protective mask and was swiftly back in action in the Premier League and the Champions League.
His attitude was just what McClaren expected. The coach said: “I picked John as captain because he epitomises what an England captain should be. He wants to play in every game and miss nothing and he will do everything to make that possible.”
That endorsement signified a recognition of the distance Terry had travelled. Few observers would have considered him a potential England captain after a number of tearaway incidents off the pitch in the early stages of his career.
Every player needs a little good fortune and Terry has been no exception. He made his international debut in June 2003 and then found the path to a regular place at the EURO 2004 finals opened up by Rio Ferdinand’s ban for missing a drugs test.
England lost their quarter-final to hosts Portugal on penalties but Terry’s no-nonsense defending had impressed an international audience that included Jose Mourinho. The new Chelsea manager immediately appointed Terry as his skipper in succession to Terry’s original mentor, French veteran Marcel Desailly.
His first season as Chelsea captain could hardly have gone any better with the west London club — revived by a Russian financial influx from Roman Abramovich – ending 2004-2005 as champions for the first time in 50 years. Terry marshalled the meanest defence in Premiership history, conceding only 15 goals. He also contributed eight of his own at the other end of the pitch and was voted Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers Association.
The following season brought similar success with another Premiership title. It also saw Terry’s first England goal in a friendly against Hungary. From there, Terry strode on to the FIFA World Cup” finals in Germany where he contributed a spectacular goal-line clearance against Trinidad and Tobago and collected a man-of-the-match award against Ecuador.