Make what you will of John Terry as a person, as a footballer he is a legend. There are no two ways about it.
For England, though, he will be a miss at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, as he retired from international duty back in September 2012. The Three Lions have moved on since then, with Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones all stepping up, but there has always been a lingering suspicion that Terry’s absence has not been compensated.
And now Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, who works as a TV pundit for the BBC, has highlighted just why England’s defence is not as strong without the Chelsea captain, claiming that the lack of familiarity between Cahill and Jagielka could be a major factor for opponents to come out at them in Brazil.
‘I always judge defences by thinking: Would I worry about going into that back four?’ The Mirror quotes the former England international as saying. ‘And no, I wouldn’t. I would believe I could have success. And when we play Uruguay, Luis Suarez will. The season he has had, he will do that against any defence... And Cahill and John Terry are different to Cahill and Phil Jagielka. And it’s a different scenario, in different circumstances. But I think our back four are the weakest part of our team’.
Cahill has established himself as a leader in his own rights at the heart of England’s defence, but one of the reasons why he has been so successful at Chelsea is his partnership and understanding with Terry. In the 2013-14 campaign, the Blues conceded just 27 goals all season.
Before England manager Roy Hodgson announced his World Cup squad, there were calls for him to try to persuade Terry to return to international duty. However, the former Liverpool boss kept faith in the players who had given their all in the qualification campaign.
England are now looking forward to a new era. Whether they can make a successful start, one will find out in Brazil.