Can the Three Lions Squad Believe in John Terry?
Roy Hodgson has only had his feet under his new desk a few days and already he is repeating the same old, tired, mistakes that marred his predecessors reigns.
On the field John Terry hasn’t had his most memorable season. He has been found wanting at crucial times and his judgment has been called into question at times.
That alone would be enough to give many international managers pause. High profile slips have cost his club side at crucial moments during the season.
A manager who really rated Terry would retort that class is permanent, form temporary. They would be happy to place their trust in an experienced player to play his way back into form. Even if he didn’t manage that, they would point to his invaluable experience and presence in the dressing room.
But the dressing room is another blot on Terry’s current profile.
The former England captain has a court case looming in July. He is accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, cousin of his former England teammate Rio Ferdinand. A problem serious enough that many in the game felt that Terry could never be partnered with the Manchester United defender in the Three Lions shirt again.
Terry of course is innocent until proven guilty and he strongly denies the allegation. He is entitled to his day in court.
The allegations of racial abuse don’t seem to have upset his teammates like Ashley Cole or Didier Drogba who both seem to have had no problem playing with their club captain.
There is another skeleton in Terry’s closet of course. A couple of years ago news broke that he had had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s partner. Bridge at the time was a teammate in both England and Chelsea and despite pressure from the media that Bridge should forgive and forget and keep wearing the Three Lions on his chest, he walked away.
Typically during international competitions, squads spend several weeks sequestered together, training, keeping fit and team building.
A bunch of young men, boys together, with plenty of free time. Thrown together like this, often having their movements severely limited to minimize contact with media or fans, tensions are bound to surface among a bunch of highly competitive egos.
Banter and computer games will soon turn to boredom, a wrong word could easily spark an incident that could get out of hand in such a rarefied atmosphere. What happens in the hotel stays in the hotel but when the chips are down and when you need someone by your side you need someone you can trust implicitly.
In the trenches, soldier need someone who can watch their back and that needs to be someone they can believe in wholeheartedly.
Can players on international duty trust in someone who has a date in court for racially abusing a team mate’s cousin or someone who has previous in getting involved in others’ relationships?
With expectations finally low ahead of England’s participation in an international competition, Hodgson’s toughest challenge this summer could well be ensuring tensions among his players don’t get out of hand.