Eden Hazard may have walked away with all the Premier League individual awards this season but John Terry, who finished third in the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award, has been champions Chelsea’s leader.
Terry has been ever-present in Jose Mourinho’s title-winning team and despite being 34-years-old, has continued to perform at a high level all season. It is testament to Terry’s determination and ability that he has been able to constantly reach those performance levels.
It is just three seasons since Terry was dropped from the Chelsea starting line-up by former manager Andre Villas-Boas as he attempted to prolong the skipper's career. Back then, the central defender was playing a bit part role in the side, purely due to his age.
But he has proved this season that constant games have had no adverse effect on his displays in a Chelsea shirt and Terry has become a role model for older players at a title challenging club.
Everton defender Phil Jagielka, who is two years younger than Terry, has praised his former England colleague and has labelled him as an inspiration as looks at prolonging his own career.
Jagielka told Talksport, in an exclusive interview, “To still be playing at the level he is, is amazing. He can only inspire. A lot of players hit 31 and 32 and start going the wrong way.
“Maybe not playing international football has helped, giving him little breaks that he may not have had previously. He’s had a fantastic season and deserves all the plaudits he gets.”
It’s true that Terry has the luxury of having breaks during the season due to his international retirement and he has benefitted from focusing fully on Chelsea.
Perhaps players will look to the likes of Terry, Paul Scholes and Alan Shearer in the future and contemplate early retirement from the international stage as there is living proof that it can significantly prolong an elite player's career at the highest level.