The Andy Gray Column: John Terry should accept FA verdict and move on

Summary: ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to South West Londoner…


After getting fined by the FA and banned for four matches for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, my advice to John Terry, unless he is hugely determined to plead his innocence, would be to accept it and just move on with his career.

He’ll consider an appeal with his legal team because although John has never denied he said those words he has argued from day one they were said in a different context.

I thought they would find John guilty and that he would get a ban – that was always going to be the natural thing to happen.

If there have been racist words said then of course the FA have to look at it and they have done, and made their decision.

Whether John accepts it or not, or whether that’s the advice he gets form his legal team are two different things.

As for John’s retirement from international football, it will be a huge blow for Roy Hodgson to lose someone of his experience and ability.

John said the FA made his position in the England setup untenable but he could have played on. The manager said it so there’s no doubt.

I don’t know how the England players would feel about playing alongside John but I wouldn’t have thought it would have affected them that much.

I think he’s made a decent decision. He’s had a wonderful England career and he’s at the stage now where he’s picking up a few injuries at club level and missing a few games.

For Chelsea’s sake it will benefit them and it will lengthen John’s club career. He’s had his time – he’s enjoyed almost 80 internationals for his country.

But whether you like John Terry or dislike him, the one thing you can’t deny is that when he put an England shirt on he gave everything he could and more.

Playing for England he wasn’t a shrinking violet – he grew and he was very proud to play for his country and captain them.

But it’s a wonderful opportunity for someone like Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott or Steven Caulker to step forward and say it is their time.

They will have to grab it with both hands and it’s there for anyone who wants it.

I don’t see a way back for Rio Ferdinand though. He’s 33 and by the next World Cup he’ll be 35 and England should blood a couple of centrebacks over the next two years and get them some good international experience to have them ready for 2014.

Yes Rio is good enough to play for England at the moment but you need to look beyond the moment and instead at what things will be like in two years.

I would be surprised if Roy brought him in. I don’t know whether it’s to England’s benefit to hold back the development of a younger centre back who probably will play in Brazil.

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