Smudger Smith: Reduced to lip-reading, JT had to call it a day

The Journeyman Pro

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs. The ultimate utility player, as his pace has diminished he has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper.

There has been a lot of talk about life for England without John Terry, but I think the prognosis is good. England have won every game 5-0 since he retired, which bodes very well indeed. The writing was on the wall for the Chelsea skipper once it was revealed that he lost his hearing at the Football Association. You simply can't compete at international level if you can't hear shouts of "man on". The signs were there as he was apparently repeating Anton Ferdinand's words – clearly having had trouble making out what the QPR man was saying.

It's a big decision to retire at the age of 31. That's a whopping 34 years short of qualifying for a state pension so I hope JT has made allowances for his autumn years.

I spent Saturday reading about Wales's victory over Scotland with a one-man team. It sounds remarkable but I'm a little confused as to how Gareth Bale was able to take kick-offs and throw-ins. Having said that, Wales took the offside rule out of the game, which must have given the Scottish defence something to think about. It was a risky strategy by under-pressure Chris Coleman but the gamble has paid off and he'll now have 10 well-rested players for the game against Croatia tomorrow.

I'm still not sure about having these games on Friday nights. Apparently fans were streaming out of Ireland's game against Germany with 10 or 15 minutes to go. I can only assume the traffic is that much worse in Dublin of a Friday. The last Ireland game I went to was on a Saturday and nobody had to leave that 5-0 win against Northern Ireland early.

I'd like to offer my congratulations to Wayne Rooney on getting the England armband and the news that he and Coleen are expecting their second child. There will no doubt be tears and sleepless nights, but that's all part and parcel of being captain or vice-captain for your country and I know Wayne will cope admirably.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro

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