John Terry led Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2014-2015 in a season which saw him display top quality performances week in, week out. But with Jos Mourinho thinking of replacing Chelsea’s captain, leader and galvanizer, Terry could well be shown the exit door.
Ever since John Terry made his debut for Chelsea in Oct 1998, every manager that came had to worry only about three positions in defence. One centre back position was always rock-solid. John Terry was commanding it with ease. With a six-feet half-inch frame, his staunch presence has scared the best of strikers, putting them to shame on numerous occasions.
Terry was key to Chelsea’s title win last season, as he has been in whatever Chelsea have achieved during his time at Stamford Bridge. Recently though, questions over his future have been raised.
But John Terry is more than just a player in Chelsea’s back line. He is their leader. Yes, he isn’t getting any younger and although his best is behind him, letting go of him would mean Chelsea could look shaky, not only in defence, but also in confidence.
Jos Mourinho has probably already paid his commiserations to the John Terry era. It is evident that Jose doesn’t require a player to play badly to drop him – Juan Mata was a clear example of that. He was Chelsea’s best player for two seasons in a row, and yet, had to see himself out simply because he didn’t fit into Jose’s style of play. Mourinho wanted a player who could not just create and score goals as a no.10, but someone who could track back and help in defensively. Therefore an in-form Oscar was preferred in Mourinho’s tactical set-up to the Spanish international.
Terry has not done much wrong either. However, Mourinho probably needs more pace at centre back this season, something that Terry does not offer. John Stones, on the other hand, possesses all the attributes Mourinho is looking for, and don’t be surprised if this weekend’s game against Tottenham Hotspur is his last appearance for Everton. Even if Chelsea fail to sign him, they have the option of Kurt Zouma, which means Terry’s future at Stamford Bridge is not looking very bright.
The margin for error at the top level is almost nonexistent. All it takes is a dip in form, a spell out of the team, or the arrival of a new signing, and your spot in the starting eleven isn’t guaranteed anymore. It isn’t taken for granted even if you’re a club legend. Steven Gerrard knows all about it, as does Michael Owen.
But betting against world class players like Terry is always a risk. They have the ability to block out the disturbance and silence their critics. How else did Steven Gerrard end up being Liverpool’s top scorer last season after being dropped earlier in the campaign? Wayne Rooney’s hat-trick in the Champions League qualifier against Brugge didn’t come as a surprise either. It is not just talent, but determination that defines the ability of a great player.
Terry might not be the manager’s first choice anymore, but let’s not forget about the fans. They adore him. Although he does get his share of stick from opposition fans, he’s that kind of player who a rival fan will boo, while quietly wishing he played for them.
But now with Frank Lampard gone, and Terry expected to be a rare inclusion in the starting eleven, who will be galvanizing this supremely talented Chelsea side? The absence of a natural leader could see them go down. On the contrary though, we could witness a new leader emerge.