It's understandable that Sam Allardyce doesn’t want to rule anybody out as he settles into life as England’s new manager but he ought to think twice before talking up the possibility of recalling John Terry.
I’m surprised that it is even being discussed. Bringing back former captain Terry after four years in the international wilderness should be a non-starter for any number of reasons, and if Sam, who names his first squad on Sunday, is not serious then he should put the debate to bed, as these things can easily become a distraction.
Team spirit is important and, as a new manager, Allardyce will want the environment to be positive from the word go.
Terry, who retired from England duty after being charged by the Football Association with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand – a charge he denied – is not on everyone’s Christmas card list and everyone knows that.
From a playing point of view, too, recalling Terry wouldn’t be doing anyone any favours. He may still be a top-level player in the Premier League, but that is in a solid defence at Chelsea.
International football is different; he may not get that protection. In his last England games he was already being exposed for pace. Now, at 35, that will be the first thing that opponents look to target.
Allardyce doesn’t need him. England strolled to Euro 2016 qualification with Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill in central defence and they should be good enough for another easy group on the way to the World Cup.
Besides, the player who should be rivalling Smalling and Cahill is not Terry but John Stones, who has started the season at Manchester City very well following his move from Everton.
He has been playing on the left of the centre-back pairing, so he can fill the role that Terry would, and has what it takes to be a leader – more so than Smalling, in my opinion.
I think it’s the right time for Stones to make the step up to being an England regular, and the sooner he does the more experience he’ll get.
Finally, I’m not sure Terry would want to come back. At his age, players typically retire from international football to prolong their club career.
A few months ago, he didn’t look like getting another Chelsea contract; now he has one, he owes it to his club to focus on them.