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Monday, 19 April 2010

A Tale of Two Centre Backs

John Terry has become the human equivalent of Millwall FC. ‘No-one likes me and I don’t care,’ he pouts. There’s a reason why people don’t like you John. If you pardon my asterisks, it’s because you consistently and unashamedly act like a f****** c***. And if we take the person as institution metaphor a step further, it appears Terry has also become the human equivalent of the Conservative Party with his contemptuous ‘born to rule’ mentality which sneerily puts down any attempt to question his form by kissing his badge or taking off his beloved blue shirt to emphasise the word ‘captain’ adorning his bicep. All of this superficial preening merely serves to underline that attitude is everything to England’s JT. It is everything and ultimately it leaves him with nothing. Because it is this stinking attitude that means that when Terry clatters his England teammate James Milner with a horribly late tackle in the FA Cup semi final, rather than check to see if his supposed pal is ok, he is instead right in the ref’s face presumably asking ‘what the fuck is that for?’ It is this attitude that has him mouthing ‘twice I got the ball’ after being sent off against Spurs when twice he didn’t get the ball.

After the furore over his personal life and the fallout over losing his England captaincy, you would have thought he’d have had the good sense to shut his mouth and get his head down. As unlikeable as John Terry is, I would have had a grudging respect if he’d have shown any sort of humility, held his hands up, let it be known he was in the wrong and got on with playing football. But where he dips his wick has no bearing on his abilities on the field I hear you say. Well my argument is that in Terry’s case, it does. He is ruled by an overbearing juvenile ego where he seems to have to constantly prove himself as a man. Off the pitch this means shagging Wayne Bridge’s ex. On the pitch, it means tearing into tackles when a little contemplation wouldn’t go amiss and generally engaging mouth before brain when dealing with referees.

Quite how being the fourth best centre back on the field at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening gives Terry the ammunition to be anything but sheepish is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, you have Michael Dawson who has grown in stature this season to finally live up to the billing that made him such an exciting prospect all those years ago at Nottingham Forest. One of my housemates is a Spurs fan and more so than the other two I live with (Wigan and York City fans), he has been waxing lyrical about Dawson to anyone and everyone who will listen. I was at White Hart Lane for the Spurs Blackburn game a month or so ago and when he wasn’t being completely commanding and looking every inch the international centre back, Dawson was spraying 50-yard passes straight onto Gareth Bale’s left foot. He looked very good indeed.

It hasn’t been a flash in the pan either. Imperious for the majority of the season, Dawson seems to have come of age, especially in the two games that could define Spurs’ season and particularly against Chelsea when he effectively snuffed out the threat posed by one of the world’s most dangerous strikers, encapsulated by that perfect sliding tackle in the final ten minutes on Drogba. Surely the form of Terry has now become a worry to Fabio Capello as the ancient wisdom of automatically pairing he with Rio Ferdinand seems more and more to be based on flawed logic. ‘He’s committed and brave,’ say Chelsea fans. ‘He puts his body on the line,’ they crow. Yeah well he also has a dreadful temperament. He has been undone by pace all season. He is a one man harassment law case when he gets within five yards of a referee. And although I suppose Algeria fans won't be chanting 'John Terry, your mum's a thief' at him in Cape Town, you've still got to worry about him in South Africa against the likes of Messi, Villa, Torres. Only one of Dawson and Terry appears to be getting on the plane to South Africa it seems and as time passes it is looking increasingly like it will end up being the wrong one. Adam Bushby

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