John Terry’s relentless determination shows no sign of abating.
The most successful Chelsea skipper of all-time returned for pre-season training a week early to give himself a solid platform for his 20th year at the club.
Chelsea have evolved immeasurably since Terry joined the youth setup as a midfielder in 1995. After relocating to defence, he helped the Blues to three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League in 2011/12 – all but one of those triumphs coming during his spell as captain.
“I didn’t imagine becoming a centre-half, for sure,” said Terry, 33. “I was moved back there for one game and the rest is history, but the most pleasing thing for me, having first come into the side when I did, is remaining here following the investment of Mr [Roman] Abramovich.
“We have had the possibility to sign the best players in the world – and we have done – but to still remain in the side is testament to my character and my determination to fight and work for my place.”
Abramovich has invested a mammoth £800 million on transfers since buying Chelsea in 2003 – a total that rises significantly when factoring in wages and the other costs associated with running a football club.
Terry has been an omnipresent figure as the Blues squad has transformed season after season, but the Chelsea skipper’s next campaign will be a peculiar one following the departures of long-term team-mates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
“It feels different coming in and Lamps not being sat next to me,” said Terry. “We have sat next to each other in the changing room since... well, since he signed for the club really. I’ve become really close to Lamps and Ash and they were my two best mates at the club.
“So I’m really sad to see arguably the best player the club has ever had, in Lamps, move on, for what he brought to the dressing room and as a mate.
“It’s the same with Ash. It was a big move for him to come here from Arsenal at the time. He took a lot of stick but it was a bold move and it took a lot of guts to do what he did. For me, he has been the best left-back England has ever had – that is why we signed him.”
While the former England captain accepts his time in the Chelsea first team is limited, he does not expect to be phased out just yet.
“When I first came into the squad, it was down to me to break into the team ahead of Frank Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly, which was a task in itself, but I have always relished that kind of challenge and I still relish it now – I don’t want to give up my place to a younger player,” he said.
“One day it is going to come to an end, but I’m hoping that is still a few years away. It’s funny to think about it but I’ve done everything at this club: washed the kit, cleaned the stadium, cleaned the toilets, washed the players’ cars. I’ve done some bizarre things that were part of my education growing up, but they’ve definitely served me well.”
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