Hodgson: Terry’s retirement is a big blow to my England plans

ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has admitted the loss of John Terry to international retirement is a significant disappointment.

The central defender and former England captain on Sunday announced the immediate end of his international career and blamed the Football Association’s disciplinary hearing into his role in the Anton Ferdinand race row, which began yesterday, for making his position “untenable”. The Chelsea captain had been one of Hodgson’s greatest performers since the manager’s May appointment and consequently concedes that he feels the decision to retire to be an exceptionally unfortunate one.

“I’d like to thank John Terry for his commitment to the England team since I became manager,” Hodgson said. “I am of course disappointed to lose a player of John’s international experience and exceptional ability.

“I have enjoyed a good relationship with John during my time as England manager and I reluctantly accept his decision.

“I can also confirm that he had the courtesy to call me prior to the announcement of his retirement from the England team. I’d like to wish John well for the future.”

Another of Terry’s former managers, Avram Grant, who replaced Jose Mourinho as Chelsea’s head coach for the 2007-2008 season, has meanwhile questioned why the FA felt it necessary to investigate Terry after he was in the summer cleared of racial abuse in a case at Westminster Magistrates Court.

He said: “Nobody thinks John Terry is a racist so the FA need to leave it.

“John likes to fight and he’s very passionate about the national team so I was surprised [at his retirement]. But he’s not a child, he knows what he’s doing.

”One thing I must say is that he’s not a racist. He’s a good man. He respects everybody, he’s good with people and I was very surprised that people thought bad things of him.

“If [the FA] think JT is racist they need to do something but I think nobody thinks he is a guy like this.

“I think the message was clear and I don’t think they need to charge him. For the FA, the more important thing is the message that it will not have racism in sport.”

FIGURE OF FIVE: TERRY’S POTENTIAL ENGLAND REPLACEMENTS

Rio Ferdinand
Partnered Terry in central defence for the majority of the Chelsea man’s England career but was overlooked for Euro 2012. There may have been a reluctance to select the two together amid the race row surrounding Rio’s younger brother, Anton, but he is proven at the top.

Gary Cahill
Plays alongside Terry at Chelsea and was an England regular until injury on the eve of Euro 2012. A better footballer than he is sometimes given credit for, Cahill could become the greatest benefactor of his team-mate’s retirement by being his long-term replacement.

Phil Jones
A defender full of promise who plays for Manchester United. Jones’s talent is not in question but his positional sense is. There remains no reason why he cannot develop this but Terry was a calm, reliable influence, which Jones has certainly not yet proved to be.

Steven Caulker
Not yet a regular starter for Tottenham but another classy, promising defender. Looked consistently comfortable for Swansea City last season and if his progress continues he could continue the international career that begun with Team GB at London 2012.

Chris Smalling
The classiest of England’s developing defenders. Smalling featured for the team under previous manager Fabio Capello and has the potential to become a regular starter for years to come. Would be preferable for him to consistently start for Manchester United first, however.