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Ray Wilkins Thinks John Terry is the Answer - But is He?

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England's crisis at centre-back has seen many call for John Terry's return to international football. Is this a road Roy Hodgson should take?

Could we see the Frank Lampard-John Terry romance feature for England again?
Could we see the Frank Lampard-John Terry romance feature for England again?
Michael Regan

England's central defence is a major issue heading into Brazil 2014.  With no real established partnership, Roy Hodgson has rotated between Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to fill the gap. But fear not - Ray Wilkins has found the answer to all of England's problems, calling on Hodgson to turn to fellow Chelsea legend and former England star John Terry.

Now, it isn't exactly rocket science to claim that John Terry coming out of international retirement would solve many problems with England.  Statistically the winningest captain of the English team (and the most hated), people having been calling for Terry's return since he retired as he would bring both a strong leader to the back four and an all-around excellent defender to the team.  When the campaign to re-instate Rio Ferdinand ended in fiasco, Terry became the media's dark-horse candidate, and, with his club form re-invigorated under Jose Mourinho, there is every reason to believe that England would be tipped to advance from their group.

The problem with this "solution" is that it is remarkably unsustainable. Terry is 33 years old and, despite his upturn in form under Mourinho, is not getting any younger.  Moreover, his partnership with Gary Cahill has seen Chelsea concede 8 goals from 8 shots in their last three matches - a horrid statistic and something of an anomaly, but food for thought nonetheless.  As a Chelsea fan, I can tell you that part of Terry's resurgence is due to the fact that he no longer is distracted by international commitments; in other words, a return to the England fold might not be as successful as some might hope.

I'd tentatively say that John Terry's inclusion in the World Cup squad would be an acceptable coda to his distinguished international career.  A magnificent player, and one of the best central defenders in English history, he is nonetheless an unsustainable answer to England's enduring defensive malaise.