He may have taken his time over it but at last England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has seen sense and given a senior call up to Chelsea defender John Terry.
Since breaking into the first team just over three years ago John has been one of our most consistent performers and a key part of one of the meanest defences in the Premiership.
He is a big, strong, uncompromising defender and although he hasn’t got a lot of pace he makes up for it with his excellent reading of the game and robust challenges.
Learning from the likes of Marcel Desailly, one of the best defenders in the world, John has emerged as a true leader, a fact recognised by Ranieri by awarding him the captain’s armband in the absence of the aforementioned Frenchman.
He also weighs in with his fair share of goals, having scored five so far this season, with his aerial presence a danger in the opposition’s penalty area as much as is it reassuring in our own.
So why has it taken Sven so long to pick him? It’s been several months now since he was cleared of all charges relating to an incident outside a London nightclub and while hampered by injury at the beginning of the season, he recovered quickly and impressed on his return to the first team.
Bizarrely the previous England squad saw Ledley King and Matthew Upson picked ahead of him – and this despite his previous excellent performances with the U21s, who he even captained on several occasions.
But with Sol Campbell likely to be injured it seems Sven has finally seen the light and John will hopefully be given his chance in the Euro 2004 qualifier against Liechtenstein. It’s a big step up from club football to the international stage but the 22-year-old has impressed at every level so this will hopefully be the first of many appearances for England.
John has formed impressive partnerships with both Desailly and William Gallas and, without wanting to place too much expectation on him, I fully expect him do the same with either Rio Ferdinand, Campbell or Jonathan Woodgate.
John will hopefully be a big part of Chelsea’s future – let’s hope the same destiny awaits him with England.
From a Chelsea fan’s perspective it was also nice to see Carlton Cole called up to the England U21s, Carlton first team opportunities have been limited this season but the youngster has impressed when he has come on and has shown he has plenty of skill to trouble the best defences.
The experience in the England U21 set up will be good for him to hone his raw talent and while there’s plenty of room for improvement he could also offer Chelsea, and England, something a bit different up front.