World of Sport: September 2012

No figure in world football seems to be more divisive than John Terry at the moment. Over the past five years, he has been at the forefront of a number of scandals resulting in his name being slopped and smeared across back and front pages worldwide.


John Terry was given a ban for four games by the FA following his altercation with Anton Ferdinand. Photo: Julian Mason

With his announcement that he is retiring from international football, John Terry leaves the international scene as arguably the best English central defender of a generation, and a personification of all that is wrong with the modern footballer.

To many, he is the embodiment of a natural leader on the pitch, leading his club to hoards of honours and his country on many occasions. To others he is the sheer embodiment of scum and an arrogant mess of a human being.

The allegations posed to him by Anton Ferdinand have resulted in much more than him being stripped of the huge honour of the England captaincy, but it also served to tar the reputation of Terry in an even worse fashion than his exploits with Wayne Bridge and co.

It’s difficult really to think of someone who has fallen so far in the past few years more than John Terry. His abhorrent disregard for his friend and teammate, Wayne Bridge, just served everyone a shocking reminder of the kind of immoral goings on that some professional footballers are part of. None worse so than Terry, captain of England.

In all honesty, I couldn’t have been happier when he retired from International football. We can start focusing on the real matters like who will replace Terry at the World Cup in Rio and we can stop constantly re-visiting the Terry-Ferdinand partnership, which now is rightly doomed, especially seeing as Ferdinand seems to have come back from summer and left half his pace on holiday.

Terry’s fall has been remarkable, but also entirely deserved. From his infidelities, to his strapping on shin pads at the Champions League Final and grabbing the trophy, there really is no better example of the decline of the modern footballer than John Terry.

Rise Sir Rory of McIlroy

From one of the most despicable men in British sport at the moment, to one of the golden boys at the moment. It seems like McIlroy can do no wrong.

He told the collective media about the Ryder Cup: “Whoever wants to take me on, they can take me on. This week I’m not the number one player in the world; I’m one person in a 12-man team and that’s it. It’s a team effort. There’s 12 guys all striving towards the same goal. I’m just part of that.”

A man of 23 who is putting his neck on the line in such a way can only be commended and, when compared to other British sportsmen, it’s no wonder why the British Isles have truly taken McIlroy to their hearts.

His rise over the last two years, in my opinion, has been only beaten by Tiger Woods and, at 23, there is no wonder why people are touting his ability as similar to the once great American. One thing that McIlroy has on his side is the public – a factor which Woods can no longer really rely on after his infidelities.

McIlroy will have to mess up in an epic way to fall from the public’s good favour and I for one don’t expect him to. He’s a young man who thrives on pressure and who can only continue to grow as one of the bright personalities of British sport.

England’s fortunes boosted by Wilshere return

From starting with one of the most loathsome figures in English football, to one of the few bright sparks at the moment. Jack Wilshere looks set to return to action over the coming weeks. Wilshere may have only completed one full season in the Premier League and started a seldom few games for England, but it already seems like he is integral to England’s future.

Touted as a future captain, I like to see him as kind of the anti-Terry. While Terry was out womanising and generally being awful, Wilshere would be in with his Arsenal chums playing video games and getting giddy about his England call up.

Wilshere embodies the modern footballer. He’s a player who is comfortable with the ball and rarely misplaces a pass. In the era where teams like Swansea, Barcelona and Athletico Bilbao are so highly lauded, a player of Wilshere’s talent is set to be heralded for years to come.

Wilshere is a player who England needs to build a team around if they are to survive as a footballing force. Let’s just hope Hodgson gets the memo.

 

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