Terry 'one of the best in history' says Grant

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He is on a high salary and, yesterday, there was high praise also for John Terry, as Avram Grant described him as "one of the best in history". The Chelsea manager was referring to the captain's "leadership", which he said had been crucial during the club's "very difficult time" surrounding the departure of Jose Mourinho.

However, Grant even went on to claim that England would not have lost their vital European Championships qualifier away to Russia last month had Terry been available.

Whether the central defender will be able to feature for his country on 21 November against Croatia remains a moot point, with Grant confirming that he remains "two or three weeks" away from fitness following surgery on the troublesome knee that ruled him out of the match in Moscow.

"Ashley Cole may be available next week. But JT will take longer," Grant said of his club's injury problems which, he added, also include ankle ligament damage to defender Paulo Ferreira, which rules him out for up to six weeks.

Terry is cutting it fine. But given his record of wanting to play through pain, and sometimes defying medical advice, it is likely that he will declare himself fit. Chelsea will want him to play for them first. The Premier League match against Everton on 11 November must surely be his target.

Of course, Terry, 26, has found himself an unwitting target of sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe who described the £135,000 he receives a week (Sutcliffe said £150,000) as "obscene".

"John Terry deserves the money, every penny," Grant said. "He [Sutcliffe] did not choose the right person, he did not choose the right issue. The government does not pay one penny to John Terry – not even when he's with England. They need to take care of people without money, not have opinions about how much money [Maria] Sharapova or Madonna or John Terry have in their pockets."

Interestingly Grant chose to bracket football with what he termed "showbiz", and the desire for entertainment has been a mantra he has taken into his stewardship. It was also something drummed into him by club owner Roman Abramovich, with Grant saying the "mode of football has changed" under him. He added: "I belong to a big club, and even if we didn't start the season very well, the targets are all the same."

Certainly the Israeli is appearing an increasingly buoyant and confident figure. Results have been crucial, with six straight victories, and eight games without defeat going into today's encounter away to Wigan.

Grant has already achieved something beyond Mourinho, who never registered a 6-0 scoreline, as Chelsea did last week against Manchester City.

Not that any Mourinho side would have chased such a margin. For him to win was enough; it was not enough for Abramovich.