Roy Hodgson has expressed his hope that John Terry will be cleared of allegedly using racially abusive language by an independent regulatory commission and can continue to play for England as the Chelsea captain awaits confirmation of a date for his personal hearing.
Terry was charged by the Football Association last month for his alleged turn of phrase during last season's defeat at Queens Park Rangers, only 13 days after being cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster magistrates court that centred on the same incident. The 31-year-old, who has been rested along with a number of other senior players for this evening's friendly against Italy, denied the charge but the case may not be heard until late next month.
Hodgson was understandably reluctant to enter the debateabout Terry's impending hearing, initially claiming the issue was "sub-judice" and stressing the player "has a case to answer with the FA and I'll wait and see what happens". Yet he went on to declare his hope that the defender, so outstanding at Euro 2012, will be cleared. "I'm hoping, and I make no secret of that, the case will take its course and that John, hopefully, will be freed as he was freed in a court of law, and will carry on playing for England.
"That's my hope. What will happen, I have no idea. I thought John did well in the Euros and I'd like to keep using him, but this is a case which is way out of my hands. John understands that.
"All I can do, like many of his supporters I suppose, is just hope he gets freed and can continue to play." Asked whether he intends to select Terry for next month's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, he added: "We'll wait and see."
England's preparations for this evening's game in Switzerland, a rematch of the Euro 2012 quarter-final which saw them eliminated on penalties, have been hampered by a series of withdrawals, with Theo Walcott joining the list of absentees. The Arsenal winger is at home receiving treatment on a badly bruised thigh sustained in Sunday's friendly win in Cologne, leaving Hodgson likely to select only three men – Ashley Young, James Milner and Joleon Lescott – who started against Italy in Kiev.
The manager, who has reminded his players of their responsibilities after the success enjoyed by Team GB at the Olympics, has handed Frank Lampard the captaincy against the Azzurri with the midfielder having indicated a desire to extend his stay at Chelsea beyond the expiry of his current contract . The 34-year-old's deal runs until next summer with the club yet to resume talks over an extension after a preliminary meeting last season.
"We spoke once and it was a case of coming back, and it hasn't come back from their end," he said."I don't know. I'd like to sit down and speak with them. But at the minute I'm playing and it's up to the club to do that.
"I would like [to end my career there]. I feel I can play at the top level for a good few more years, but it's whether the club feels the same. I know there are a lot of changes at Chelsea, and the youth coming into the squad this year has really freshened up our team, but I'd love to be involved. But it's a club decision to come and sit down with me. They used to sit down with me three years before the end of my contract. Now I'm waiting."