Terry aims to improve for club and country

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The Independent Football

John Terry has set his sights on a permanent place in the England side after being crowned Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year on Sunday night.

Terry's leadership quality and no-nonsense approach to his game have seen him develop into an integral player for both club and country but he feels he has more to offer.

The 24-year-old, though, insists there is no magic formula behind his progression. "I just try to come back every season and improve on the last one," he said. "I try to be as consistent as possible, stay focused and keep trying to improve on the training ground, and then taking that on to the pitch. With the World Cup coming up, it is important I keep playing well for Chelsea and cement my place in the England side."

Terry is also preparing himself for another tough encounter with some of the men who voted for him when Chelsea take on Liverpool in the semi-final of the Champions' League tomorrow night.

The Chelsea captain was honoured by his peers at Sunday night's gala dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, finishing ahead of his team-mate Frank Lampard and the 2004 winner Thierry Henry in the poll. The Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, England colleague Steven Gerrard and the Crystal Palace striker Andrew Johnson were the other men shortlisted.

Terry believes it will be a closely contested affair as Liverpool look to build on the hard work of their quarter-final victory over Juventus, not to mention seeking to eradicate the defeat to Chelsea in the Carling Cup final two months ago.

"They have talent all round, the likes of Steven Gerrard, Milan Baros, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia - they are all very good players," Terry said.

"They are solid defensively and did well at Juventus, but we have been scoring goals lately, and can hopefully break them down. We have a lot of respect for them, and they will be aiming to get revenge on us for the Carling Cup final. We have played them three times already, so obviously they are going to be pumped up. Hopefully the fans can get behind us and we can get a nice cushion."

Terry added: "I think maybe they have a little advantage being at home in the second leg, they have got great support with the Kop. It is going to be a great night for everyone."

The Chelsea captain is one of several players to have flourished under the guidance of Jose Mourinho this season. It has been a remarkable introduction to the English game for the man who arrived at Stamford Bridge during the summer intent on making sure his European success with Porto in 2004 would not be the last.

With one piece of silverware already securely locked up in the trophy cabinet, and Chelsea now on the verge of a first League championship for 50 years, it would be a remarkable achievement should Mourinho also guide a team to Champions' League glory for a second successive season.

Terry said: "Winning the Champions' League again would be very special for the manager. It would be great for him to win it in consecutive seasons, after doing so well at Porto and now having taken us to the semi-finals. We've got a long way to go, but we are in there and have got a chance."

Terry also revealed the early-season form of Arsenal had left his side in no doubt to just what a feat it would be to win the title. "After the season Arsenal had last year, everyone knew it was going to be tough for them to do the same again," the Chelsea captain said. "They started off like they were on fire, we kept winning and so did they - we couldn't see Arsenal getting beaten earlier in the season. But thankfully they did."

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