John Terry retires: England boss worse off for defender's absence
By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport
John Terry's England career will be forever framed by the controversies surrounding his captaincy but manager Roy Hodgson will still regret his loss.
Terry decided to make a pre-emptive strike on his international future
by announcing his retirement
ahead of facing a personal hearing with the Football Association over a disciplinary charge relating to alleged comments to QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
It was only weeks ago that Hodgson was hailing the 31-year-old Chelsea captain as "a warrior" as he limped through
England's 5-0 win against Moldova
in Chisinau with an ankle injury that kept him out of the subsequent World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.
And Hodgson's personal admiration for Terry was made clear when, faced with what he called "a footballing decision",
he plumped for Chelsea's captain
in a straight choice with Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand for England's Euro 2012 squad.
Terry delivered full justification for Hodgson's support by emerging as a stand-out performer in the competition in Poland and Ukraine, especially with a magnificent display as
England held Italy at bay in a goalless quarter-final
only to lose, inevitably, on penalties.
So while Hodgson will understandably throw his support behind his employers in this matter and make preparations for life without a player who won 78 caps in a nine-year England career, he will be sorry to see him cut it short so unceremoniously.
Archive: A look at John Terry's career
Terry's England career has been chequered and his determination to put his body on the line even when suffering injury means he has become an increasingly fragile physical presence in the ranks.
The FA's decision was the catalyst for former coach
Fabio Capello to quit
and now Terry has walked away from England with their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in its infancy.
Terry was still an important part of Hodgson's plans, close to an automatic pick when fit, but also a player who was past his prime, very much closer to the end of his career than the beginning and starting to show vital signs of wear and tear.
John Terry factfile
Date of birth:
7 December 1980
3 June 2003:
First England cap as a substitute against Serbia and Montenegro
15 August 2004:
Replaces Marcel Desailly as Chelsea skipper
19 August 2006:
Takes over from David Beckham as England skipper on a permanent basis
5 February 2010:
Stripped of England captaincy following a meeting with Fabio Capello
19 March 2011:
Restored in the job by Capello
21 December 2011:
Crown Prosecution Service announce Terry will be charged with racially abusing Ferdinand
13 July 2012:
Cleared in court
23 September 2012:
Announces his retirement from England duty after 78 caps
He was still very much of service to Hodgson but the indicators were there that he would soon have to turn to a new generation of England defenders, perhaps before Brazil in two years - should England qualify.
Terry is a divisive figure among supporters and players but even his sternest critics - and there were many - would struggle to mount a convincing case against the fact that he was as committed as any player who has played for England in recent years.
On this basis alone he will be missed, but he has effectively also taken a decision Hodgson himself would have had to face sooner rather than later.
He was a central component of England's defence at Euro 2004 and in the World Cup in Germany two years later - before finding himself in the headlines again for a now infamous press briefing at the so-called "Camp Capello" in Rustenburg, South Africa, during the 2010 World Cup.
In arguably the most electrifying and interesting moment of England's wretched campaign, Terry marched in and ferociously tackled every item on the agenda from boredom, team selection and his willingness to tackle Capello on any matters he felt needed correcting.
Terry was accused by some - wrongly in my opinion - of mounting a thinly-disguised coup against Capello and attempting to reclaim the captaincy in all but name.
His only error in my view was ordering Capello to pick his then Chelsea team-mate Joe Cole, not his territory, but other than that he made cogent points.
Capello condemned Terry for his mistake but it still appeared to do nothing to lessen the Italian's admiration for him as a player and character.
In some quarters, however, it was regarded as compelling evidence that here was a man with too much to say for himself, too keen on buffering his own power base and revelling in his self-styled "Big Man" reputation.
Gary LinekerBBC Sport
"John Terry has retired from international football. He says the FA have made his position untenable. Probably a sensible decision. Whatever you think about John Terry, he always gave his absolute all on the field for England. A strong leader and great defender."
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