Football

Conte: Terry shouldn't retire

Chelsea skipper mulls over retirement but Blues boss says 36-year-old can still play on

John Terry says he could retire when his Chelsea career comes to an end this summer, but Antonio Conte has urged the defender to play on elsewhere.

Terry made his 716th Chelsea appearance and likely penultimate one at Stamford Bridge yesterday morning (Singapore time), scoring his 67th goal as the Premier League champions beat Watford 4-3.

The 36-year-old defender will leave this summer after 22 years at Chelsea.

He is expected to play against Sunderland on Sunday when he will lift a fifth championship title and 15th major honour.

A 16th will be sought in the FA Cup final with Arsenal on May 27, when manager Conte will bid to end his first season with the Double.

"I've still not ruled out Sunday being my last game and retiring from football," Terry told Sky Sports 1.

"It depends, if the right offer comes along, I will sit down and consider it with my family - whether that's here, abroad, or wherever that may be.

"Genuinely, I haven't made any decisions yet and I'm evaluating all my options."

The future of Terry has perplexed many of Conte's predecessors, but the Italian has managed the imminent departure respectfully and courteously.

Conte thinks Terry should stick by his decision to continue playing regularly elsewhere, which was his motivation for leaving.

Asked if Terry should retire, Conte said: "No. Absolutely (not). Otherwise he stays here. John wants to continue to play.

"I wish for him and his family the best. Chelsea will be always his home."

Former Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins has cheekily claimed that Liverpool would improve their defence if they signed Terry.

Liverpool's defence has come under criticism this season, with the likes of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan unable to prevent the Reds from conceding the most goals in the top five teams of England's top flight.

Speaking to Alan Brazil's sports breakfast show on talkSPORT yesterday morning, Wilkins claimed Terry looked in good shape against Watford.

"Perhaps Liverpool could do with him. I was watching him last night and considering he hasn't played for a long, long period of time, he looked as fit as a flea," said Wilkins.

The Premier League trophy will be presented after Chelsea's final match of the season on Sunday.

Conte said: "This is the right final for John."

Terry was named to start in the league for the first time since Sept 11 against Swansea.

There was an element of good fortune about his goal as Willian's corner was headed by Kurt Zouma on to Terry's back.

The ball dropped kindly for Terry in the area, he struck it with his shin and it went in off the post.

Two minutes later, Terry gifted Watford a goal scored by Etienne Capoue, while he was also culpable in Stefano Okaka's strike which made it 3-3 before Cesc Fabregas' 88th-minute winner.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Michy Batshuayi, who scored the title-clinching goal at West Brom, were also on target for Chelsea, while Daryl Janmaat netted a superb strike for the visitors.

"It's funny to watch a game and to see both teams score four and three goals," Conte said. "When you've won the league, you can allow this situation."

Conte wore a crown for a lap of honour which followed fireworks and streamers.

He added: "This season, every single player must be a king for the supporters."

Win against Sunderland and Chelsea will become the first club to record 30 victories in a 38-game season.

"You can write some records. It's important for the history," he added. - PA SPORT

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