BURTON-ON-TRENT, United Kingdom, Aug 23 – New England manager Sam Allardyce will consider ending former captain John Terry’s four-year international exile, he revealed on Monday.
Terry, 35, retired from England duty in September 2012 after the Football Association charged him with racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. He was later fined and given a four-game ban.
Roy Hodgson, Allardyce’s predecessor, said in March that England had still not successfully replaced the Chelsea centre-back and Allardyce has not ruled out handing him a recall.
Asked if Terry might be in line for an England return, Allardyce said: “Maybe so. I think it depends on what John said.
“Maybe if I get the opportunity, I might have to give him a ring. But until I come to that selection or that process, we’ll wait and see.
“I don’t know what the political side of that might mean, if there is a political side. I’ll have to have that conversation if I feel that John Terry may be a possibility.”
Terry, capped 78 times, signed a one-year Chelsea contract extension in May and has played in their two games to date under new manager Antonio Conte.
Allardyce, 61, was appointed England manager in July after Hodgson stepped down following England’s humiliating elimination by Iceland at Euro 2016.
He begins his tenure with a 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Slovakia in Trnava on September 4 and will name his first squad on Sunday.
Allardyce, known as ‘Big Sam’, confirmed goalkeeper Joe Hart will be selected, despite having lost his place at Manchester City under new manager Pep Guardiola.
But Allardyce warned it is “critical” for Hart to secure regular first-team football if he is to remain England’s first-choice goalkeeper.
“If it goes for a longer period of time, then I think it’s difficult to select them,” Allardyce told reporters at the St George’s Park national football centre in Burton, central England.
Guardiola has expressed reservations about Hart’s passing ability and Allardyce said he would speak to the City manager about the matter.
– Rooney role –
Another England player now under Guardiola’s orders is centre-back John Stones, who recently joined City from Everton.
Allardyce expressed hope that Guardiola will improve Stones’s defending, citing his work with Gerard Pique at Barcelona as an example.
“Potential is something that’s going to be great in the future,” Allardyce said of Stones, 22. “I want it right now and I think he’s got a great chance of becoming ‘right now’.”
Allardyce must also decide whether to persist with Wayne Rooney as captain. He said he had made up his mind on the issue, but would not make an announcement until next week.
Rooney, 30, played in midfield for England at Euro 2016, but has been operating in a number 10 role at Manchester United since the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.
“I think his best position is where he’s being played now because that’s the manager of Manchester United telling him where he wants him to play, with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic),” Allardyce said.
Rooney’s United team-mate Marcus Rashford has disappeared from view under Mourinho, having broken into England’s Euro squad after his stunning emergence last season.
Allardyce said the 18-year-old might be best served by dropping into England’s Under-21 squad in order to build up playing time.
Asked to explain England’s recurrent failings at major tournaments, Allardyce said the collective problem was “psychological”.
But he vowed to eschew a softly-softly approach and said the way to get more from the country’s under-performing players was to challenge them.
“I might be slightly more demanding as a manager,” he said.
“My idea of coaching and man-managing the players is: yes, we get on well, we communicate well together, but at the end of the day, to try and push them a little farther than they’ve already been pushed.
“For me, they get everything they need. But when you get everything you need, it means you can demand more.”