The Daily Mirror claim John Terry is facing the “humiliation” of turning out for Chelsea’s “second-string” side against Walsall in the Capital One Cup this week.
Overlooking the simple fact that Terry – a professional footballer – would simply be doing what he is employed to do should he appear, the paper use the revelation as the latest evidence that the defender’s “days look numbered at Stamford Bridge”.
Clearly Terry’s stature at Chelsea is not what it once was, having been subbed at half time against Manchester City and not getting on the pitch for the club’s recent Champions League and Arsenal clashes.
However, the idea that Jose Mourinho will just cast one of his most trusted lieutenants aside so nonchalantly is a little farfetched.
After the London derby victory over the Gunners, the Portuguese tactician said: “He knows that I care about him as a person, as a player. If you want to paint a dark picture, I ask you please don’t because it is not the reality. He’s in a great condition and a great situation with the manager and with the club.”
Terry was never going to be able to maintain the high-standards of play he has set throughout his career deep into his 30s. That his form has dropped off so quickly after being an ever-present member of a league-winning defence is startling, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a role to play.
Mourinho has openly spoken about his desire to build a new team in west London, referred to as a dynasty. He won’t be able to do that without Terry playing a pivotal role in leading the club’s new young players.
Papy Djilobodji, the 26-year-old centre back signed from Nantes on deadline day and Terry’s rumoured defensive partner against Walsall, is one example of a player that will need to lean on the former England international’s wealth of experience.
Kurt Zouma, although having seemingly removed Terry from the teamsheet in the biggest games, is another that, at the age of 20, will benefit from his captain’s guidance in training sessions, at half times and during games they play together.
At Manchester United, the last dynasty seen in the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand all performed a similar role to help the next phase of stars come through the club. Using Terry in the same guise is shrewd from Mourinho, not bullish as others would have you believe.
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