Why "Isolated" Chelsea Captain John Terry Does Not Compare To "Loved" Blues Legend Didier Drogba


For a man whose Chelsea career was defined by such single-mindedness, the news of John Terry’s likely departure has seemingly involved a few complications - but then the two are possibly connected.

The aftermath of the defender’s impromptu announcement that this would be his last season at Chelsea has not exactly been clean.

The club themselves have sought to make it clear that there is still a chance he could be offered a new deal, but those close to Terry do not seem to think that is the case. It was conspicuous that the 35-year-old took the decision to announce it so early, and it was hard not to think it was in-keeping with some of the player’s previous attempts to rather unsubtly use the media for his own ends rather than that of the club.

It’s equally hard not to think he knew exactly the type of reaction the news would provoke, especially among the club’s support.

In that sense, it worked. There were more than a few articles wondering why Chelsea would willingly wish to discard so much experience at such an unstable time for the club, someone who carries so much of their recent identity, and someone who could prove invaluable in educating younger defenders like - say - John Stones or Kurt Zouma.

They are all fair debates, and open up a deeper question about the value of keeping around long-serving players for reasons beyond their playing ability.

More than anything, it helps maintain standards.

Manchester United have famously seen it with players like Ryan Giggs, the old Liverpool with players like Steve Nicol.

To even move beyond the usual, Steaua Bucharest turned the entire 1986 European Cup final against Barcelona by bringing on 36-year-old Anghel Iordanescu - who had barely played that season - because they knew his composure would be key. It was key to the Romanian side’s eventual victory.

The wonder is whether all of this truly applies to a divisive figure like Terry.

From talking to those close to the modern Chelsea dressing room, it is certainly true that the former England captain does not have the hold on it he used to.

He is certainly more “isolated” than he used to be. This is not to say Terry is disliked, or anything of the sort, it is just that he is not anywhere near as close to the majority of the current group as he was with the 2005-10 vintage.

They don’t look up to him or go to him for advice in the way others used to, and those closest to him are a dwindling English core.

Compare that to what seems a genuine squad leader, in terms of both events off the pitch as well as well as Terry’s type of big actions on it: Didier Drogba.

Many sources feel that one of a number of big reasons for the extent of the problems Jose Mourinho suffered this season was due to the absence of the Ivorian.

As a bridge from the old era to the new one, he also served as a bridge between Mourinho and the new players. The Portuguese was never quite able to form the bond with the younger generation that he was with the Terry/Frank Lampard generation. So, when it came to moments when the manager would rebuke a player or look to stress something, they didn’t necessarily know where they stood. Many would actually approach Drogba to try and understand what Mourinho meant, and those like Eden Hazard are known to have loved him.

This is precisely the type of leadership that means Chelsea have for so long been interested in bringing back the legendary striker in a backroom capacity.

That is a thought process that has yet been extended to Terry.

That, of course, may change. There are also different ways that standards can be maintained and off-field leadership can be shown.

It is probably just surprising to Terry, right now, that he has not seen as different to almost every other Chelsea player of the last 10 years.