Chelsea fan Crofts looks to hero Terry for Welsh inspiration

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The Independent Football

Since sharing digs with Terry and being part of the Chelsea academy, their fortunes have been at odds. Crofts departed to suffer relegation with Gillingham ... Terry became captain of the champions of England.

All that has made Chatham-born Crofts even more determined to make it back to the big time. "John gave me his shirt when we played them in the Worthington Cup a couple of years ago, and I have got it framed," he said.

"I'm a Chelsea fan and couldn't be happier with his success - he deserves it." Crofts has fond memories of his time at Chelsea, although he is no longer in touch regularly with Terry.

"Maybe he will notice that I have got into the Wales senior squad, you never know," he said. "We kept in contact, but it is not so easy now. But I have some great memories of being in digs with him."

It has taken Crofts a while to get his career back on line after leaving Chelsea. "I have broken through into the first team at Gillingham, played most of last season and have been ever-present this term," he said.

"It was a real boost to be told I would be training with the [Wales] first team and then to get the call-up. I am still able to play for the Under-21s next year, so this is really unexpected and exciting for me."

Blackburn Rovers striker Craig Bellamy, Coventry City defender Robert Page and on-loan Cardiff City midfielder Jason Koumas have withdrawn from the squad with injuries.