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The Case For The Defence: John Terry & Gary Cahill

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In a week when Chelsea became the first away team this season to keep a clean sheet at the Etihad, one fact stared the football community in the face – their centre back pairing were both English.

Michael Regan

"John retired a long time ago. We have played nine games without him. We have qualified without losing a game.” – Roy Hodgson

Clearly there is an elephant in the room. Gary Cahill is currently an England regular – his place in the England side that travels to Brazil is nailed on and on current form you would be mad not to give him a starting berth too. John Terry is another matter.

If everything you read about Terry were true (and for the sake of extreme clarity, threelionsroar has absolutely no idea whether it is or isn’t!) then he is a team mate cuckolding, adulterous, racist forced into early retirement from international football by the sheer fact that he is almost politically un-selectable. All of which makes the reality that he is still by far England’s best centre half a particularly inconvenient truth. In fact the only thing more inconvenient is that when playing alongside him, Gary Cahill elevates his own stature from ‘very nearly got it’ to ‘very clearly got it’ and not only are they unquestionably England’s best central defensive pairing, they’re arguably one of the form defensive pairings in European football.

Which brings me to Hodgson’s point. Yes, England finished top of their qualifying group, unbeaten and having only conceded 4 goals in 10 games – predominantly without John Terry. Funny the disparity that arises between results on paper and performances before your eyes eh?! Our grandchildren’s grandchildren might even look back and believe we qualified in convincing fashion (much to Hodgson’s good fortune)!

Of course we know different though because we had the luxury(?!) of seeing it unfold and as such, the subsequent reversals at home to Chile and Germany rightly left expectations floating around the slightly ambitious hope for an appearance in the second round of the World Cup.

Unfortunately for us, Ukraine are not quite Uruguay, Poland are not quite Italy and as much as pride, dignity and moral authority may all point in the other direction, you just can’t quite help but wonder whether Terry (particularly alongside Cahill) might just prove the difference maker between seeing England in the latter stages of the competition or on the early flight home.

“I think it is time for us to keep moving forward and not every time we lose a game start to turn back and turn back to someone who has been a fantastic player in the past.” – Roy Hodgson

Let’s hope Hodgson is right at that we don’t lose a game. Because if we do, I’ve got a niggling feeling that we might just look back to that player and wonder why on Earth we didn’t just take him in the first place.

What do you think? Is the Terry-Cahill partnership the best one available to England? Have your say in

the comments section below.