Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

No England place for John Terry, insists Roy Hodgson

Moving on: Roy Hodgson has ruled out a return for John Terry
Moving on: Roy Hodgson has ruled out a return for John Terry

Roy Hodgson has ruled out any prospect of a return to the England squad for John Terry after FA Commission member Danny Mills said that the Chelsea captain should be brought back for the World Cup finals.

Mills, who won 19 caps for England, made the remarks while working as a pundit during England's 1-0 defeat to Germany on Tuesday night.

A member of the 10-strong commission, of which Hodgson is also a part, Mills said that the England manager should "get on the phone" to Terry with a view to bringing him back.

Terry played in the first qualifier for next summer's World Cup finals against Moldova in September last year but retired from international football shortly afterwards when the FA pushed on with its disciplinary case against him over racial abuse of Anton Ferdinand.

He has since indicated that he might be prepared to reverse his decision.

Hodgson said: "John retired a long time ago right at the very start of our qualifying campaign. We have played nine games without him.

"We have qualified without losing a game. I think Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka have done a good job at centre-back, I think Chris Smalling showed (against Germany) he is a very good centre-back in the making. Phil Jones is there as well.

"So I think it is time for us to keep moving forward and not every time we lose a game start to turn back and turn back to someone who has been a fantastic player in the past.

"Who knows if John had played (against Germany), maybe he wouldn't have had a good game. We don't know that."

The FA Commission into the future of English footballers, led by chairman Greg Dyke, spent some time after the friendly with Chile speaking to senior members of Hodgson's squad about their thoughts on the key issues.

It is understood that the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were spoken to about the measures they believe would be useful in raising the numbers of English players in the Premier League.

With Mills now on the commission, his words carry a greater weight. However, the FA has indicated that it does not have any problem with him publically discussing matters unrelated to the commission's brief, like team selection matters. It would be difficult for the governing body to say otherwise, with Hodgson's coach, Gary Neville, the lead pundit for Sky Sports.

After their friendly against Denmark on March 5 next year, the England team will play once more at Wembley at the end of May before flying to the United States for their World Cup build-up.

Meanwhile, expectations are already in retreat after England's back-to-back Wembley defeats, but captain Gerrard does not think that is a bad thing.

As a veteran of the "Golden Generation", the England squads that went to Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup and were expected to win, Gerrard knows how unhelpful heavy expectations can be.

"I think it will be (helpful)," Gerrard said, hoping that his team will not be burdened by the usual pressure in Brazil next summer.

"You go into a World Cup where people judge you fairly, and they're not blowing you up to what you're not going to be, and there's not too much pressure and expectation, I'm sure that will help us."

This certainly represents a change from the peak years of the last decade, starting with the 2002 World Cup, which a 22-year-old Gerrard missed with a groin injury. But that was just nine months after the famous 5-1 win in Munich, in which Gerrard scored a brilliant goal.

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