London, Feb 3 (IANS) Chelsea’s interim manager Guus Hiddink has hinted that star defender John Terry may stay on at the London-based club after his contract expires at the end of the current season.
Terry has struggled to reproduce his best form this season after leading Chelsea to the English Premier League (EPL) title in the 2014-15 season. The 35-year-old was left out of the starting line-up for several matches by previous Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea has not offered Terry an extension to his contract which expires at the end of this season. The veteran central defender had earlier voiced his wish to play out the rest of his distinguished career outside England. But Hiddink opined that the Chelsea captain’s recent performances has been encouraging and the club has not yet taken a final decision on Terry’s future.
“I like very much the way he is playing, and that he is committed to the team. John is doing perfectly in his performances, he can carry on [playing], of course. He is fit, his ambition is enough to carry on,” the 69-year-old former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid manager told the British media here on Tuesday.
“The door is not shut, dialogue is always possible. But John’s statistics, and not just that but also the view I have on him (show) that he is very fit.”
Hiddink asserted that Terry was performing above the level expected of a player of his age and admitted that it will be difficult to replace such a top quuality a player with 16 years of experience.
“He is not what you normally see in a 35-year-old player, that you feel you are getting a bit slower, and cannot accept that you are in a danger zone for red cards. But none of that for John. He is fit and is performing as (well as) he has been while I have been here. And he will do. We have spoken about that, and he will be professional, but also work hard as well,” he said.
“I can say, theoretically, that no one is irreplaceable. But he has been of huge impact, has been and will be in the upcoming games, in the dressing room but also on the pitch. He has this presence, a very good presence, with the group in the dressing room. It will be a new situation, if it happens. But let’s see what will happen in the short future. There are new leaders coming up in the group,” he added.
Hiddink has spoken with Terry about his situation and acknowledged that it is difficult for players to adjust to the fact that they have to stop playing at the top level.
“For every player or manager, the age comes when you have to say goodbye to people. It is difficult. I can help him prepare. I had the same experience because I loved the game so much and quitting is difficult,” Hiddink said.