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Terry ponders England U-turn

27 April 2013-PA Sport

John Terry

Comeback ... John Terry is ready to renounce his England retirement (Getty)

Chelsea captain John Terry believes he is still one of the world's leading defenders - and it is understood he has not fully closed the door on an England return despite his acrimonious departure from international football.

The 32-year-old's influence at Stamford Bridge has waned this season as fitness concerns have seen him overtaken in the pecking order.

Yet Terry maintains he is as good as ever and is believed to be prepared to consider making himself available for England once more despite being stripped of the captaincy after being charged with racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand.

Any U-turn would be dependent on personalities in and around the squad, with Terry's resentment towards the Football Association evident last week when he rejected chairman David Bernstein's attempt to shake hands at the Champions League trophy handover.

Terry was cleared at Westminster Magistrates Court of making a racist insult to Anton Ferdinand, brother of his former England team-mate Rio, but was charged by the FA and banned for four matches.

Terry's belief in his ability remains as he enters the final year of his contract and he is prepared to wait for Chelsea to initiate discussions over a new deal.

Following the 2-1 Europa League semi-final win at Basle, Terry was asked if he is still as good a player after a decade of repelling the world's leading strikers. "Yes, I personally think that," he said.

"This year's been really frustrating for me, not playing and picking up the (knee) injury (against Liverpool in November).

"Initially it looked (like an absence of) two or three weeks, it turned out to be three or four months.

"I don't want to talk out of turn, but I'd love to stay at Chelsea. I'm happy to leave things until they come to me.

"I've got another year left and I'll definitely be here next year.

"It would be nice to get some silverware, get the season out of the way and maybe talk contracts in the summer."

The silverware available to Chelsea is the Europa League trophy and it is that tournament that has given Terry his opportunity - the defender described it as his "lifeline" - as Rafael Benitez has rotated his options in a congested calendar of fixtures.

Terry recognises he is not in the strongest position to go in search of a new contract and that, like Frank Lampard, who could leave this northern summer, time is catching up with him.

But whatever the future holds, Terry cannot envisage himself playing against Chelsea.

"It might be another year, or another two, I don't know," added Terry, who reiterated his support for Benitez's rotation system.

"It depends on my fitness and me staying in a good enough condition to impress the guys who make those decisions.

"I have got another year left which I will honour and respect, regardless if it's a yes or a no.

"Naturally it would be disappointing (to leave), but at the same time you understand that you can't be around forever.

"Where I would go after that it certainly wouldn't be in England. I couldn't do that to Chelsea or the fans. That's just not me."

Terry suggested the uncertainty over who will be Chelsea's manager next season has contributed to the doubts over his own future.

Terry does not anticipate interim boss Benitez will stay, even if Chelsea progress at Basle's expense next week and go on to win the Europa League final in Amsterdam on May 15.

"He's personally said he's here to the summer and that's it," Terry added.

"Whether or not he will (stay) I don't know, but it certainly won't do him any harm winning it."

While the clock may be ticking on his own position, Terry knows it is imperative Chelsea achieves its second short-term target - a return to the Champions League - as its pursuit of a top-four place continues against Swansea on Monday (AEST).

Terry suggested the Europa League has had an adverse impact domestically, but that Chelsea is desperate to finish the season on a high.

"It's not served us well in the league," he said. "It's obviously not where we want to be, but at the same time we're in it and we've had a lot of long journeys and travelled to some tough places.

"We are in it to win it. It's on our agenda as well as coming third or fourth and cementing that Champions League spot next year, which is essential to the football club."

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