FORMER England captain John Terry last night stunned the nation when retiring from international duty on the eve of the Football Association’s inquest into the Anton Ferdinand race row.
The FA’s disciplinary hearing was less than 24 hours away when Terry accused them of making his position “untenable” when announcing his immediate retirement from the international scene after accumulating a total of 78 caps.
“I am announcing my retirement from international football,” said Terry, who despite earlier this summer being cleared of doing so in court is to be investigated by the FA after allegations of racial abuse towards Ferdinand in a Premier League match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers last season.
”I would like to thank the England managers who have selected me for my 78 caps. I have had great pleasure in sharing that honour with all the players that I’ve played with.
“I would like to thank them, the fans and my family for their support and encouragement during my international career. Representing and captaining my country is what I dreamed of as a boy and it has been a truly great honour.
“I have always given my all and it breaks my heart to make this decision. I want to wish [manager] Roy [Hodgson] and the team every success for the future.
“I am making this statement in advance of the hearing of the FA disciplinary charge because I feel the FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable.
“I now look forward to playing for Chelsea and challenging for honours, and I want to thank the fans and club for their continued support.”
TERRY’S INTERNATIONAL CAREER SINCE 2003 DEBUT
■ June 2003: makes his debut for England, coming off the bench during a 2-1 friendly win against Serbia and Montenegro (Sven gave him the debut)
■ June 2004: Terry is deemed to have fouled goalkeeper Ricardo during the crunch quarter-final against Portugal, leading to a Sol Campbell header being disallowed. England lose the game on penalties, being knocked out of the tournament.
■ August 2006: Terry is chosen as England’s new captain by manager Steve McClaren, replacing David Beckham.
■ January 2007: The FA fine Terry £10,000 and reprimand him after he made comments questioning the integrity of referee Graham Poll
■ August 2008: Reaffirmed as England’s permanent captain by manager Fabio Capello.
■ January 2010: named as the footballer behind an injunction that had previously stopped the publication of an alleged affair with lingerie model Vanessa Perroncel – formerly the girlfriend of Terry’s once-Chelsea and England team-mate Wayne Bridge.
■ February 2010: Terry loses the England captaincy after meeting with manager Fabio Capello. Bridge does not make himself available for selection for England’s World Cup campaign, during which the team is captained by Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard.
■ March 2011: Terry is reinstated as England captain by Capello.
■ February 2012: Terry loses the England captaincy again, due to ongoing investigation into allegations of a racial slur against Anton Ferdinand (below) in a game four months earlier against QPR.
■ February 2012: Just days later, Capello resigns as England manager in protest against the decision to strip Terry of the captaincy.
■ May 2012: Terry vows he will not quit international football, saying: “I will never turn my back on England”.
■ June 2012: Gerrard captains England in Euro 2012 with Terry keeping his place in the team. England lose to Italy in the quarter-finals.
■ July 2012: Terry is cleared at Westminster Magistrates' Court of racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
■ September 2012: Terry starts his final game for England in the 5-0 win against Moldova, yet limps off the pitch having picked up a late injury.
WHAT THEY SAID: REACTION TO TERRY’S DECISION
“It's a massive loss. To replace a character who has been in that dressing room for such a long period – and been so consistent – is very, very difficult indeed.” Ray Wilkins
“If only John Terry had used the word “untenable” when he shouted at Anton Ferdinand.” Jeremy Vine (via Twitter)
“Whatever you think about John Terry, he always gave his absolute all on the field for England. A strong leader and great defender.” Gary Lineker (via Twitter)
“John Terry retires from international football. Was a class defender for England. Good luck” Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong (via Twitter)