Terry forced into climbdown over Lampard issue
John Terry has been forced into a climbdown after he broke ranks to question Chelsea’s stance on the non-award of a new contract for his team-mate Frank Lampard. The captain took to his Instagram account yesterday to state he would be “devastated” if Lampard, as expected, were allowed to leave as a Bosman free agent in the summer, with Los Angeles Galaxy the midfielder’s likely destination.
Terry was responding to quotes attributed to Lampard’s agent, Steve Kutner, which said the 34-year-old would depart at the end of the season. Kutner has denied making the remarks but that did not dilute the sentiment of the view that Terry put forward.
Terry posted a photograph of himself and Lampard holding the FA Cup, accompanied by the comment: “Devastated is an understatement. We should retire the No8 in honour of Lamps.” Terry also posted a series of hashtags, which included “hero”, “legend” and “goalmachine”.
Chelsea were surprised and annoyed that Terry should express such strong feelings on a delicate situation and Terry duly deleted his comments.
He followed that with an explanation about how he had merely responded to the quotes attributed to Kutner, albeit underneath a photograph of Lampard with the Champions League trophy, which appeared to reinforce his original point.
Rafael Benitez, the interim Chelsea manager, who has inherited a situation that promises to be a major sideshow over the remainder of the season, said. “I didn’t know [about Terry’s comments]. I was surprised when they told me but that’s it.”
Benitez, who welcomed Demba Ba to training for the first time, maintained that Lampard’s professionalism would ensure that the situation did not prove disruptive.
Lampard suggested last month that he was resigned to not getting a new deal and he is free to sign a pre-contract with an overseas club.
“I know that in the next few months, we will maybe be talking about this issue,” Benitez said. “But for me, he’s a good professional, a good player, who is doing well and working hard. I cannot do anything else, just bring the best from him.”