Friday 28 April 2017

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher question the timing of John Terry Chelsea announcement

John Terry and (inset) Carragher and Neville
John Terry and (inset) Carragher and Neville

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have questioned the timing of Chelsea's announcement that long-serving defender John Terry will be leaving the club for good at the end of the season.

The decision came to light on Monday, with Chelsea releasing a statement on their website thanking Terry for his commitment and service over the years, but Sky Sports pundits Neville and Carragher do not believe the announcement will be beneficial.

Less than 24 hours previously, Chelsea had lost 2-0 at Manchester United, a result that led manager Antonio Conte to declare the title race with Tottenham "50-50", and Neville believes the players would not be helped by what might now become a "distraction".

"The news of Terry leaving is incredibly strange timing, I don't get it at all," the former United defender told Monday Night Football.

"I'm not really sure who it suits, maybe John Terry a little bit, but I'm not even sure about that.

"It may be a distraction for the dressing room, the club and the fans will be sad today especially after the big game they lost yesterday. Maybe he's signed a pre-agreement with somebody and they couldn't keep it quiet any longer.

"They haven't kept a clean sheet for quite a bit now and I think he could be quite useful for them.

"If they needed someone with experience in this last month to get them over the line, he might be the man they need to call on.

"He's got the experience, the resilience, the robustness and that toughness which would get his team-mates over line. He may be Chelsea's most important player in the next few weeks."

Carragher was equally critical of Chelsea's decision, stating his belief that the "best centre-back in the Premier League era" could still have something to offer at Stamford Bridge.

"The timing seems a bit strange on the back of yesterday's game and result," Carragher said.

"But for me, he's the best centre-back in the Premier League era. An absolute legend and he'll certainly go down as Chelsea's greatest player. He's one of the greats of the Premier League era and number one for me.

"I think he's got a lot to offer as a player in the Premier League. You associate him as a one club man and I think it's always sad when a player of that stature for a club puts a shirt on for someone else.

"The fact he's come out early with this announcement I see him playing for someone else next season. Hopefully for us it's in the Premier League."

Meanwhile, former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard has paid tribute to Terry, a player he describes as the "greatest defender in Premier League history".

Terry and Lampard both played a big part in much of Chelsea's greatest period of success since Roman Abramovich bought the club in June 2003.

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