When John Terry takes to the field he looks more like a general leading his army into battle than the captain of a football team. Some great captains lead by example on the field while others are talented motivators of men. Terry is both.
Peerless in his own position as a dominant centre-half, he is just as effective barking out orders or imparting quiet words of encouragement to his team-mates.
It says a lot about Terry that when Jose Mourinho first took charge at Chelsea it was the English centre-half he chose to build his team around. Handing the captain’s armband to the towering defender was one of the ‘Special One’s’ first actions at Stamford Bridge. The Londoner took the challenge with relish and has not looked back since.
When he first broke into the Chelsea side it was obvious JT was marked out for great things, leadership being one of them. Even in his early days he cut an imposing figure on the field, but his footballing brain has been just as important to his success as his stature.
Few centre-halves are as adept at reading danger as Terry and it’s hard to keep track of the number of goal-saving tackles and interceptions he has made. England and Chelsea fans have got used to the sight of Terry putting his body on the line to block shots inside and outside the box.
Terry’s talents are not only limited to the defensive side of the game. Many an attack has been set in motion by one of his pin-point cross-field balls but he is at his most dangerous in the opposition penalty area.
Rival teams know Terry is the danger man, the one to watch from set-pieces, but time and again he evades his marker to get his head to crosses. And when he connects the ball ends up in the net more often than not.
In 2006 Terry succeeded David Beckham as England captain. It was the proudest moment in the 25-year-old Terry’s career and he led the Three Lions with his characteristic drive and determination. Alongside Rio Ferdinand he has formed one of the most formidable central defensive partnerships in international football.
With Chelsea he has won three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2011-12 Champions League. He has twice been an integral part of double-winning Chelsea sides, first in 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti and in 2011-12 under Roberto Di Matteo.