John Terry sensationally ended his England career yesterday.
One of the most divisive international stars of all time said he had taken the decision on the eve of his Football Association improper conduct hearing because his position with England was now “untenable”.
The move is a major blow to manager Roy Hodgson, as well as being somewhat embarrassing as he had continued to stand by Terry throughout the racism storm that erupted over a clash with Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road last October.
Press Association Sport understands Terry spoke to Hodgson before releasing yesterday’s statement. Hodgson selected Terry for Euro 2012 prior to a court case, at which the 31-year-old was found not guilty.
He then chose Terry for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine even though the FA had continued their own action against him.
Yet, whilst Hodgson clearly felt the Chelsea man still had a role to play, Terry no longer feels it is possible.
“I am today announcing my retirement from international football,” said a statement issued by Terry.
“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.
“Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has truly been a 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 FC, and challenging for domestic and European honours, and I want to thank the fans and the club for their continued support.”
Whilst plenty will lament Terry’s decision to abandon the national cause, others are bound to feel it is the correct move.
>> Appointed Chelsea captain as the successor to Marcel Desailly in August 2004.
>> Succeeds David Beckham as England captain in August 2006.
>> Is restored to the role of permanent England captain by Capello in March 2011.
>> Terry captains Chelsea to a famous 1-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final encounter at Stamford Bridge on April 18.
>> Is cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 13 of making a racist insult to Ferdinand, but two weeks later is charged by the FA with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards the QPR defender. It is further alleged that this included a reference to the ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race of Ferdinand. Terry denies the charge and requests a personal hearing.
... And lows
>> In 2002, Terry and Chelsea teammate Jody Morris are cleared after being charged with assault and affray in connection with a nightclub incident. Terry, uncapped at the time, is ruled out of the World Cup by the FA until the legal case is completed.
>> In Dec 2009, Chelsea are forced to defend Terry after allegations he took secret cash payments to lay on a behind-the-scenes tour of the club’s training ground.
>> In January 2010, Terry is named as the sportsman behind a gagging injunction involving his private life. A court order had previously been in place, covering an alleged relationship between married Terry and French model Vanessa Perroncel, a former partner of teammate Wayne Bridge.
>> Is axed as England captain in February following a meeting with Fabio Capello.
>> In October 2011, Terry is accused of making a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s defeat at QPR. A police investigation is launched which culminates in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing that charges would be brought. In Feb 2012, West London Magistrates’ Court rules that Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July.
Terry’s England memories...
England 2 Serbia and Montenegro 1: June 3, 2003
Terry made his senior debut at the age of 22 in a friendly fixture at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium. The defender was introduced at half-time by manager Sven-Goran Eriksson as a replacement for Jonathan Woodgate.
>> First goal
England 3 Hungary 1:
May 30, 2006
Terry had to wait almost three years before recording his first international goal in a friendly in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup. The defender headed home a David Beckham free-kick early in the second half to add to goals from Gerrard and Peter Crouch.
The Chelsea captain went on to score five more goals for his country with only his last coming in a competitive fixture (the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Ukraine).
>> Permanent captain
England 4 Greece 0:
August 16, 2006
Although he had worn the armband on previous occasions Terry was selected as the permanent England captain by new boss Steve McClaren. Terry celebrated his appointment by scoring the opening goal of the game as McClaren’s England tenure started well.
>> Final Appearence
Moldova 0 England 5: September 7, 2012
Terry’s final cap came in the World Cup 2014 qualifier against Moldova. England came out on top thanks to goals from James Milner, Jermain Defoe, Leighton Baines and a brace from Frank Lampard. — PA Sport
England manager Roy Hodgson dismayed by Terry’s retirement
England manager Roy Hodgson yesterday expressed his disappointment at John Terry’s decision to quit international football.
Terry announced his international retirement last night on the eve of his Football Association disciplinary hearing on a racism charge with the Chelsea skipper claiming the case made his position with England “untenable”.
Hodgson said: “I’d like to thank John Terry for his commitment to the England team since I became manager.
“I am of course disappointed to lose a player of John’s international experience and exceptional ability.
“I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager and I reluctantly accept his decision.
“I can also confirm that he had the courtesy to call me prior to the announcement of his retirement from the England team.
“I’d like to wish John well for the future with Chelsea.”
Meanwhile, former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins said Terry’s international retirement would be a “massive loss” to Hodgson. “He’s an outstanding player and in the dressing room he’s an outstanding character,” Wilkins told Sky Sports News.
“On the pitch he does what the manager requires and that’s to lead from the front. I feel very sad for Roy Hodgson in that Roy made it pretty evident he wanted John to be there and be his centre-half. We’ve got to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil and this is a massive blow.” — Agencies
Opinions divided on Terry’s exit
For many Chelsea fans John Terry, who dramatically retired from England duty on Sunday, is a club legend fit to be spoken of in the same breath as Stamford Bridge greats such as Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris.
As far as they are concerned he is a man who has been let down by the ‘blazers’ and been hung out to dry by officials looking to cover themselves.
For them allegations of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last October are a media-generated storm in a tea cup, all the more so as he was cleared of criminal charges by a London court in July. Yet, judging by phone-ins following Sunday’s announcement, there are plenty of other football fans who are far less enamoured of ‘JT’.
Both groups would probably agree on Terry’s merits as a tough-tackling centre-half who never gives up on the most desperate of goal-line clearances.
Someone in no doubt about Terry’s worth as a footballer is current England manager Roy Hodgson, who had made it clear he wants the 31-year-old in his squad as the team try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
This makes the timing of Terry’s international retirement in one sense puzzling, although the fact a Football Association improper conduct hearing into the Ferdinand incident was due to start on Monday may provide an explanation.
John Terry Factfile
>> Birthdate: December 7, 1980
>> Birthplace: London
>> 1991: Joins West Ham’s youth set-up
>> 1995: Moves to Chelsea aged 14
>> 1998: On October 28, makes Chelsea debut against Aston Villa.
>> 2003: On June 3, makes England debut as substitute against Serbia and Montenegro.
>> 2004: On June 24, appointed Chelsea captain, succeeding Marcel Desailly.
>> 2006: On August 10, appointed England captain in succession to David Beckham by Steve McClaren.
>> 2008: May 21 — Misses penalty in shoot-out against Manchester United which would have won Chelsea the Champions League.
>> August 19 — Named as permanent captain of England by Fabio Capello.
>> October 23 — Makes statement denying a racist slur against Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s defeat at QPR after videos had circulated on the internet.
>> December 21 — The Crown Prosecution Service announce Terry will be charged with racially abusing Ferdinand.
>> 2012: January 28 — The FA cancels the pre-match handshakes before the FA Cup fourth-round tie between QPR and Chelsea “to defuse further tensions” relating to the Terry-Ferdinand situation.
>> On February 1, District Judge Howard Riddle orders Terry should stand trial in the week beginning July 9 - following Euro 2012.
>> On February 3, Terry is stripped of the England captaincy by an FA board fearful that otherwise he will prove a distraction during Euro 2012. Decision is taken without consulting Capello.
>> On February 8, Capello resigns as England manager.
>> On April 24, sent off in second leg of Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, meaning he will miss the final if Chelsea qualify. They do on back of 2-2 draw for 3-2 aggregate victory.
>> On May 19, Chelsea win Champions League final after beating Bayern Munich in a penalty shoot-out on Germans' own ground. Terry is ridiculed for changing into Chelsea kit after the final whistle to celebrate with his teammates.
>> On June 24, plays the whole match as England lose their Euro 2012 quarter-final to Italy in a penalty shoot-out.
>> On July 13, cleared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of racially insulting Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s match against QPR in Oct.
>> On July 27, Charged by FA over Ferdinand incident.
>> On August 30, recalled to England squad for September’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine. He later withdraws due to ankle injury.