Saturday 16 December 2017

World Cup 2010: John Terry determined to draw a line under scandal

Drawing a lion in the sand: John Terry wants England to move on from the scandal which saw his stripped of the captaincy. Photo: Getty Images
Drawing a lion in the sand: John Terry wants England to move on from the scandal which saw his stripped of the captaincy. Photo: Getty Images

Jeremy Wilson

John Terry has claimed that the spirit in the England dressing room has not been damaged by the scandal that prompted Fabio Capello to strip him of the captaincy.

Speaking at length for the first time since the revelation that he had an affair with the mother of Wayne Bridge's young son, Terry also urged the whole of England to draw a line under the incident ahead of the World Cup.

"The lads have said it publicly, but I've had a lot of support from them privately as well, which has been really nice," he said. "We've shown that our team spirit has not been damaged."

Even so, Terry was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd against Egypt on Wednesday, while Bridge remains so disgusted with his former team-mate that he has made himself unavailable for England duty.

Bridge also refused to shake Terry's hand before Saturday's game between Chelsea and Manchester City, with the very public disintegration of their relationship completely overshadowing the build-up to Wednesday's international friendly.

However, Terry felt that the manner of England's 3-1 win demonstrated the collective team spirit and was clearly pleased by the response to him from his international team-mates, in public and private.

"We've shown that the players, the fans and the country are united all behind the team," said Terry. "We showed in our second-half performance that we've still got that fight and drive for each other which will never go away.

"The spirit amongst the lads is fantastic and we showed that by coming from a goal down against a really good side. I hope that draws a line under everything."

In truth, the booing of Terry on Wednesday was less widespread than he may have feared, with plenty of fans cheering and showing their appreciation. Terry responded with a more assured defensive performance than has been the case in recent matches for Chelsea.

"I'm thankful to the crowd and showed my appreciation after the game," he said. "It means a lot the way they responded. It's important, but it's not just about me and we need to forget about all that now.

"Let's concentrate on England and the World Cup and we've seen that we've got a really good chance if we can keep playing like that and keep progressing – 18 months ago we said we needed to keep going and keep improving and we've done that.

"I was pleased with my performance. It was important I came out and played the way I did. More important was the performance of the team. Everyone contributed, especially the players who came on."

Capello had got the players together on Monday to remind them of their off-field responsibilities but had always been confident that the loss of the captaincy would not affect Terry's status as one of his most influential on-field leaders.

Frank Lampard, Terry's friend and Chelsea team-mate, admitted that an air of negativity could affect the team and stressed the importance of the England supporters backing every player ahead of the World Cup, which starts in just three months.

"We've tried to block out any negative feelings," said Lampard. "The fans were supportive. The players understand the booing, whatever their thoughts on different issues. But whether it's off the pitch or on the pitch issues, it doesn't help. We're in the zone now where we have to concentrate on getting behind the team. We have to try to take out the negativity because that can affect people."

Lampard also endorsed Terry's assertion that the England players had shown their collective unity over the past week. "I think we put it behind us," he said. "We showed a good togetherness and spirit on the pitch.

"People are concentrating on their football. People can analyse things around the hotel and stuff but what's important is when you train, you train hard, and when you play, you play as a group. We have to carry on doing that to have any chance."

Of the way Terry has reacted to losing the captaincy, Lampard added: "Everybody player should act like they have the armband. John does that and he will continue to do that more often than not."

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