New England manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that he would be open to holding talks with Chelsea captain John Terry about a shock recall to the England team, despite the ‘political issues’ that surround the ageing centre-back.
Terry hasn’t played for England since 2012 when he retired from international duty. His retirement in September of that year came just four days before he was due to be suspended for four matches by the Football Association for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. Terry was found guilty of calling Ferdinand a ‘f*cking black c*nt’ during a match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers in July of 2012; an act that was ‘contrary to FA Rule E3’.
Terry captained England for a time under Italian Fabio Capello and won 78 caps for the national side. His final cap came in England’s 5-0 win over international minnows Moldova as he was never considered by former boss Roy Hodgson for a recall.
Allardyce is preparing to name the first England squad of his tenure on Sunday, with the Three Lions preparing for their qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The opening match of the qualification process is on September 4th when Allardyce’s men have a game away to Slovakia.
Allardyce admitted that Joe Hart’s situation at Manchester City is a concern for him, but that Terry could be in line for a return to the England squad as numbers are important. He said, “We want as many players as possible in their club’s first team that join up with the squad, then go on to play for England and be successful”.
The former Sunderland manager, who took over from Roy Hodgson after he oversaw England’s embarrassing exit from the European Championships in France this summer with a loss to Iceland, admitted that it might not be up to him whether Terry gets to return to the starting line-up. He said, “I don’t know what the political side of that might mean, if there is a political side. I’ll have to have that conversation if I feel that John Terry may be a possibility”.
The 61-year-old made clear that Terry could yet return to the fold, but that he’d first need to find out what the 35-year-old said when he announced to the Football Association that he was no longer willing to play for England. Allardyce: “I think it depends on what John said. Maybe if I get the opportunity, I might have to give him a ring. But until I come to that selection or that process, we’ll wait and see”.
Meanwhile Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte believes that Terry’s England future is a matter for the player and his international manager to discuss between themselves and that he will not try to influence his club captain on his decision one way or the other. The Chelsea boss said, “John Terry has a great attitude during training and is working very hard. I’m very happy with his commitment. But for the international team, it is very important for it to be solved between Sam Allardyce and John Terry”.
Conte was in France himself this summer as the manager of his national side Italy. He admitted that he understands the difficulty in trying to pick the best players for the country whilst balancing the needs of their clubs. He confirmed that, as far as he’s concerned, it’s a matter for the player and manager to discuss alone. “I’m a former international team coach so I know this situation and prefer it to be solved between Sam Allardyce and John Terry. That’s the right way”, he said.