Manchester City 2 West Ham 1 match report: Joleon Lescott ponders leaving City for sake of England career
Defender denies John Terry's return is a threat, but is wary of missing out on 2014 World Cup squad
Manchester City's Joleon Lescott has declared that he does not feel threatened by John Terry's ambition to play for England again and that the Chelsea player has not been playing enough for his club to be a shoo-in for Roy Hodgson.
Lescott, impressive against Andy Carroll's physical aerial threat in Saturday's defeat of West Ham, which was a good response by City to their dethronement as champions, said his omission from Hodgson's initial England squad last month may force him to leave for a club where he gets more starts next season. But Terry has been unable to force himself into Rafael Benitez's starting line-up for the high-pressure games, because he has been unable to complete each section of a multi-stage recuperation programme, agreed with the interim Chelsea manager, after sustaining a knee injury.
"No disrespect to him but he hasn't played that much for his club either," Lescott said of Terry. "Probably there is only [Everton's] Phil Jagielka [of the England centre-halves] who is playing regularly for his club at the moment. There's a number of us who can play there who are not playing regularly for their clubs but have given a good account of ourselves."
Lescott has started 20 games this season, 14 in the Premier League. Terry, has started 21, nine in the Premier League. "[Terry's intentions are] not really [going to affect me]. It is up to John," Lescott said. "I believe if I am playing at a consistent level I can retain my place in the [England] team. I'm sure John feels the same."
Lescott, who has 26 international caps, said the England equation did come into his thinking about where he would be next season, particularly since he was omitted from the initial squad to face San Marino and Montenegro, having played every game in last summer's European Championships. "It would be tough to have another season like this," he said. "I've only started 15 or so games and that isn't great going into a World Cup. If my place in the squad was secure at international level then it would be a little bit easier. I only got in the last squad by default. It made me realise I need to make a decision and it needs to be the right one for my career. You can't expect to play for England if you're not playing for your club. I understand that I'm not playing as regularly in the England side because I'm not playing regularly at club level."
Lescott eventually filled in for Hodgson in that last international round and captained the side in the 8-0 win over San Marino – an "emotional rollercoaster over that week", as he described it. The defender has always delivered for City manager Roberto Mancini when given the opportunity this season, and has always expressed a desire for an extension to the contract which is about to go into its final year. "I'd love to stay here but if it is not to be, then so be it," he said. "If I can say I've won two FA Cups, the Premier League and a Community Shield during my time at City, then it wouldn't be too bad would it?"
Goals by Sergio Aguero and Yaya Touré set up City's 2-1 win over the Hammers. Sam Allardyce's side were anonymous for 45 minutes before Carroll's goal at the death, which came after Joe Hart fumbled the ball minutes after suffering a back spasm. Hart would punish himself for the error, despite being injured at the time, Lescott said.
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