Thursday, 17 May 2012

Is Terry a Risk for England?

The decision by new England head coach Roy Hodgson to include John Terry in his Euro 2012 squad raises questions about whether the dynamic of the squad could be damaged.

The Chelsea defender's inclusion, at the expense of Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, cannot be disputed on footballing grounds.

Terry’s red-mist moment at Camp Nou against Barcelona, in the semi-finals of the Champions League, risked his team's eventual progression to the final, which takes place on May 19, against Bayern Munich, while Terry paid the ultimate personal price, and will not feature at the Allianz Arena.

The 31-year-old also turned in one of his worst performances in a Chelsea shirt against Liverpool, in the Premier League, but a line could be drawn through this, given that it came just days after the west Londoners won the FA Cup against the same opposition.

That aside, he performed stoically in the heart of the Stamford Bridge rearguard, much to the delight of fans indulging in some live in-play betting, in an impressive end to the season under the stewardship of interim manager, Roberto di Matteo.

His fitness, too, has not been called into question, whereas Sir Alex Ferguson was uncomfortable with the prospect of Ferdinand playing four games in such a short period of time in Poland and Ukraine, next month.

The risk here is that Terry is due in court on July 9, eight days after the final of Euro 2012, to answer charges of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton, during the defeat at Queen's Park Rangers, last October, which he denies.

"The trial is obviously very unfortunate for him, but he is innocent until proven guilty", Hodgson said. "I realised when I selected him there would be people who would raise their eyebrows."

Dressing rooms can be cold and unforgiving, and it safe to suggest Ferdinand will still have his supporters among those chosen to represent their country. It is hoped, for Hodgson and Terry, that this does not impact on performances on the field.

England will meet up in Manchester on Wednesday, before flying to Norway on Friday for their friendly in Oslo, on May 26. Seven days later, they face Belgium at Wembley.

Expand your football horizons with a bet on Socceroos at Bet365.