2010 World Cup Player Profile: John Terry, Captain At Heart

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: John Terry of Chelsea celebrates as Frank Lampard scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on May 9, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

John Terry may not be the captain of the Three Lions any longer, but he will forever be a leader of the England National Team. 7500 to Holte's Kirsten Schlewitz looks at the ever-brave JT.

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Why You'll Like Him

John Terry is now infamous for his womanizing ways, but it’s his bromance with club and country teammate Frank Lampard that truly steals the stage.

Why You'll Hate Him

Because he’ll sleep with your ex-girlfriend and then you’ll never be able to play again for England…as though you were good enough to play left-back anyway.

Oh, John Terry, the man we all love to hate. But let’s clear up a few misconceptions: JT didn’t sleep with Wayne Bridge’s wife. He allegedly slept with Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child. And the two weren’t teammates at the time. Bridge’s subsequent retirement from international duty wasn’t a major loss for England, considering he just isn’t very good. Of course it was a rather slimy move to pull on a mate, but from the perspective of a country that’s seen its stars arrested for rape and murder, the John Terry affair ranks very low on the American scale of athletes acting out.

Terry’s been punished by the removal of his much-coveted armband. It’s time for the world, and this profile, to move on. Chelsea fans certainly have. The Shed End faithful relish their captain and he returns their devotion—after Terry headed in the winning goal in an FA Cup tie against Stoke City, he celebrated by gesturing to his armband, a demonstration of thanks for their support during a turbulent time.

Of course, when your club is winning, such as Chelsea was last season, it’s easy to overlook a player’s flaws. And John Terry definitely showed a few lapses in concentration, resulting in a few balls through the back that probably shouldn’t have come close to the net. Should such lapses occur whilst on the pitch for England, fans of the Three Lions will not be so forgiving. Now that Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out of play due to injury, Terry will be partnering either Ledley King or Matthew Upson in the center, and the unfamiliarity may create weakness in the back line.

With Terry’s reputation for dependability and steadiness, however, it is doubtful that taking the field in South Africa will rattle him, no matter who he’s paired alongside. But even if John is nervous, he at least has his lucky rituals to fall back upon. An extremely superstitious player, Terry needs to have the same seat on the bus, tape his socks three times, and listen to his lucky CD. So if opposing teams really want to shake up the core of England’s defense, perhaps they should lay off the lame jokes and steal his Usher album instead.

Fact Sheet

Age: 29

Position: Center-back

Club Teams: Chelsea, 1998-present (loaned to Nottingham Forest in 2000)

National Team Debut: 2003 against Serbia and Montenegro

Caps: 60

World Cup(s): 2006

Club World

Cut John Terry and he’ll bleed royal blue. Chelsea’s captain has been with the club since the age of 15, when he moved from West Ham’s youth system. Now the most successful captain in The Blues’ history, one could be forgiven for thinking that JT’s hobby is collecting trophies and medals.

After a short loan spell at Nottingham Forest to gain first-team experience, Terry returned to Chelsea and quickly blossomed into one of the Premier League’s greatest defenders. In 2004/2005, the first year that JT captained the squad, Chelsea won the league title—but it was Terry’s presence at the back that helped them achieve the best defensive record in the league, including the most clean sheets.

Terry has helped Chelsea win a record eight titles in his time as captain: three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, and two league cups. This season, as he faced allegations about his personal life that will not be mentioned again, many of his detractors said that his form was slipping. Yet Chelsea had the second-best defensive record in the league this past season, and managed to win the Double (league and FA Cup) for the first time in their history.

National Team

Terry made his full debut in a friendly against Croatia in 2003 and has been a steady presence since. He was part of the first team at Euro 2004, although England went out in the first round against Portugal. Two years later, JT was an easy selection for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and demonstrated his worth soundly with a fantastic overhead clearance in the group stages against Trinidad and Tobago. However, England were eliminated in the quarter-finals in true English fashion, with a penalty shoot-out against Portugal. Terry was the only England player to be named to the World Cup all-star squad in 2006.

Shortly after their time in Germany, the captain’s armband was passed from David Beckham to John Terry, with then-manager Steve McClaren putting faith in John’s leadership abilities. Yet England had reason to doubt in 2008, when the squad failed to even qualify for the Euros. Still Terry was a constant presence during 2010 qualification, playing eight out of ten matches and scoring the winning goal against Ukraine. Despite lacking the England armband, JT will be on the field for every match, and has told Capello to expect nothing different in his style of play.

What to Look For

Although opponents are counting on a weakened defense, it is unlikely that a man with so much experience representing his country will tolerate mistakes, whether his own or by others. Terry still takes a leadership role on the field, directing the back line into position. His perfectly timed tackles disrupt the play, while his skill in the air can either direct the ball into the goal or flick it away neatly.

Kirsten Schlewitz takes a leadership role at SB Nation Soccer, where she will be contributing content for the 2010 World Cup. When not moonlighting here or other hush-hush places, Kirsten is sharing her soccer thoughts at 7500 to Holte, SB Nation's Aston Villa blog.

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