John Terry admits he is confused by his current situation at Chelsea where he is still not a first-choice pick despite his full return to fitness.
The 32-year-old scored twice in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Fulham after being left on the bench for Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City on Sunday.
But he knows that even his prowess in front of goal does not mean he is an automatic choice at the back report The Evening Standard. The Chelsea captain injured his knee against Liverpool last November, since when he has been struggling to re-establish himself in the first team. In fact, last night was only his third League start in 2013, with interim manager Rafa Benitez tending to only pick him for the less-important fixtures in Chelsea’s packed schedule.
Terry says he is fit enough to play three games a week and determined to fight for his place but he is aware Gary Cahill is close to return from a knee injury to add to the competition already provided by David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic.
Terry said: “With Gary coming back, I don’t know where that puts me in the pecking order. All I can do is train hard and, when I get a chance, play well.
“There are no complaints. If the manager is straight with me and tells me, that’s fine. I accept the rotation system. I can definitely play twice a week, three games a week if need be. I don’t know where that [doubt] arose from.
“I’m fit, I’m training every day and have been for the last three months, so I just want to set the record straight. I’m available but, at the same time, if the manager chooses not to pick me, there is not a problem because I’m Chelsea through and through and I want nothing more than to get Champions League football.
“If that means me playing, great, if not, I will be the biggest supporter in the dressing room. It’s down to me to work hard and maybe prove him [Benitez] wrong.”
Chelsea’s victory last night lifted them back above Arsenal into third place and they have a game in hand on their London rivals. But the Blues have a number of tough fixtures remaining in the run-in to secure a top-four finish, starting with Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Terry admits it’s imperative for the club to succeed and added: “It’s very important we pick up the three points and cement this third place. Financially, for the players we want to sign in the summer, that could all depend on Champions League football. It’s where we want to be. We’re obviously in the semi-finals of the Europa League but realistically we want to be playing Champions League football.
“It [beating Fulham] has definitely put us on a good momentum. This is a tough place to win and we have struggled here over the last few years.
“We were very solid and in control. It looked like the old Chelsea. We were in possession and once we got the two-goal cushion we passed it about well and made them really work for it.
“It is a tough run-in, which starts with Liverpool. It is a busy schedule for us because we play Thursday - Sunday and we have four games in 10 days or something like that, which is ludicrous. But we have the squad and the manager is rotating — everyone is playing a part.”