If John Terry thinks he’s got a free ride with Jose Mourinho at the helm, he’s got another thing coming to him.
The Portuguese manager made things crystal clear for the Chelsea captain on Friday, informing him that he’s not safe.
After acknowledging the history and friendship between Terry and himself, Mourinho informed reporters in Kuala Lumpur that “John’s not safe and he knows he’s not safe. The only thing he knows is safe is our friendship.”
Who Mourinho will deploy as his starting center-backs is one of the many issues ‘The Special One’ must sort out before the 2013-14 Premier League season kicks-off. Terry has long been a mainstay in that role but last year injuries and signs of aging derailed the 32 year old’s season.
Former Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez preferred a partnership of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz. Conventional wisdom suggests Mourinho will likely go the same way. Ivanovic remains one of the toughest and most well-rounded defenders in the Premier League whereas Luiz’ astonishing 2012-13 campaign has some critics considering him the best young center-back in the game.
There may be some wiggle room for Terry, however, as both Ivanovic and Luiz can make impacts at other positions on the field. Ivanovic is more than capable of playing as a right-back although his somewhat underwhelming speed can be a concern. Luiz, on the other hand, fancies himself a holding midfielder and whereas he’s proven himself dangerous going forward, he tends to loose himself on the pitch when afforded too much freedom.
Then there’s Gary Cahill, whose talent has yet to fully develop with consistency remaining an issue. Terry is arguably the more impactful defender but given his lingering injury issues, Mourinho may find Cahill to be less of a liability.
One way or another, Chelsea are in so many competitions that Terry will see decent time. But as a starter in big matches? I don’t see it happening.
Which is why Mourinho made clear that: “Professionally, no one is safe. We spoke about it and he understands. We say in Portugal, ‘Friends are friends, but business is business’.”
Gotta love Mourinho, a man after Jay-Z’s heart.