John Terry would be ready to answer an emergency call-up for England but the Chelsea captain will play no part in the forthcoming friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, and questions remain about whether Roy Hodgson or the Football Association would countenance a return.
David Bernstein, the FA chairman who stripped Terry of the England captaincy last year, does not depart his post until July. England host the Irish at Wembley on 29 May and play Brazil in Rio four days later. Whether Hodgson would consider recalling Terry is unclear and, with the manager perhaps wanting to field an experimental squad for the August friendly against Scotland, any potential Terry return may not be on the cards until England's crucial World Cup qualifiers in September against Moldova and Ukraine. Hodgson's side are two points behind Montenegro in their group, with only the top side guaranteed a place at the finals.
Terry's self-imposed international exile came after the FA pursued its own disciplinary case against him for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at Loftus Road in October 2011. After being cleared of a similar charge at Westminster magistrates court following Euro 2012 Terry was dismayed that the FA pressed on with its own procedures as he had understood this would not occur.
He was subsequently found guilty, and given a four-match domestic ban, but retired from international football before the penalty was imposed. Terry believes that Bernstein, as head of the FA, drove the process and his displeasure was illustrated publicly for the first time when the Chelsea captain refused to shake his hand at the handover of the Champions League trophy in London this month.
The 32-year-old's failure to secure a regular starting position at Chelsea this season may weigh with Hodgson, along with the effect on the dressing room if Rio Ferdinand, Anton's brother, was in the same squad. Hodgson selected Terry for Euro 2012, declining to choose Ferdinand, and it is understood that the Chelsea defender is still in contact with the manager.
Following the win over San Marino in last month's World Cup qualifier Hodgson chose his words carefully when asked if he might try and persuade Terry to return to the international reckoning. "I think it's wrong for people to ask for people to consistently come back," he said.
There were suggestions last night that the FA's new players' code of conduct could prevent a return by the former captain, regardless of the wishes of player or manager.
Terry's decision to retire obviated any requirement for the governing body to take action at international level, but that is understood to remain an option were he to attempt a comeback.
Neither the FA, Terry or Ferdinand camps offered a comment last night.
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