London: John Terry claimed on Sunday that the Football Association had made his position in the England squad “untenable”. Nonsense. Terry was the author of his own downfall. Too many scrapes, too many embarrassments. John Terry rang the division bell too often in the England dressing room.
Whether it was the Wayne Bridge saga, the dispute with Anton Ferdinand and subsequent fallout with Rio Ferdinand or the impression he gave that the England armband belonged to him, Terry had become a toxic asset in international week. Too much additional baggage needed loading on the England bus when Terry boarded.
The FA charge he faces this week has become almost incidental in the public’s eyes. Even if Terry is cleared, the storm clouds will not automatically disperse.
Terry’s unpopularity will remain. He embodies much of the arrogance and ego that alienates many people from modern football. If he was chasing the sympathy vote by Sunday’s swipe at the FA, Terry is unlikely to have swung the debate his way.
His “untenable” critique does not ring true. He continued to be picked by England managers during his troubled times, first by Fabio Capello and then by Roy Hodgson. Hodgson backed him strongly, a tactic that looks even more questionable now that Terry has walked away.
Terry’s inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad came at the expense of Rio’s involvement. Nobody fully believed Hodgson’s claim that Rio was omitted “for footballing reasons”.
It was to do with the dressing-room dynamic, with the tension between the pair following Terry’s dispute with Rio’s brother Anton.
Hodgson invited a man with significant character flaws to the party in Poland and Ukraine. He behaved but his presence was always an issue.
So there will be plenty of people clinking glasses of schadenfreude at Terry’s departure. For all the off-field controversy, Terry’s 78 caps with England should be remembered for his ceaseless commitment.
For all his lack of self-awareness, Terry is a proud, patriotic individual and this decision to stand down will have been a painful one.