No bitterness towards Terry despite spat: Savage

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) Welsh footballer-turned-pundit Robbie Savage holds no bitterness towards Chelsea captain John Terry after the two were involved in a recent public feud.

The former Wales midfielder, in his capacity as a television expert, criticised Terry’s performance as “awful” after defending English Premier League (EPL) champions Chelsea succumbed to a humiliating 1-2 away defeat on December 14, their ninth of the season then, against current surprise leaders Leicester City.

Terry hit back, saying the 41-year-old’s criticism doesn’t bother him as he would only accept condemnation from footballer-turned-experts such as Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville because the trio had been “the very best” during their playing days.

“John Terry offered an opinion as I did. For majority of players to achieve and win so many trophies as John has done is amazing. As a fan, I do not have to play football to have an opinion. If there will be no fans there won’t be any football,” Savage, in the city for a charitable programme organised by British broadcaster BT Sport told IANS on Tuesday.

“So I am entitled to an opinion as a fan as well as a former player even if doesn’t matter him. I don’t really care if John doesn’t value my opinion. That’s his choice. Even if he doesn’t like it, a lot of people will. No bitterness with John.”

The former Manchester United player also opined that Terry deserves to get his contract extended by a year despite his inconsistent form this season. The defender’s form dipped dramatically at the beginning of the season that contributed to Chelsea’s disastrous league defence.

They are presently 13th in the EPL standings with 30 points after 25 matches, 23 points behind Leicester. But Terry has since recovered some of his old self to merit a new contract. His tenure at Chelsea ends after the conclusion of the current season.

“I would have given him a year contract. We have seen legends like Steven Gerrard leave Liverpool and Frank Lampard leave Chelsea. So if I were Chelsea, I would have given him another year contract. Keep him at the club in some role,” Savage elaborated.

“I don’t think he would play every week. He hasn’t played every week so what I said about him earlier in the season has come true.”

“But I would keep him at the club because he is a one club man and not many of those kind are left. He could influence a lot of young players coming through. His opinion of Chelsea is valid.”

Being a former Leicester player, having played there from 1997 till 2002, he is delighted at the prospect of the club winning the EPL.

“It would be the biggest achievement in my lifetime if Leicester were to win the Premier League because the difference in money spent by them to the big clubs.”

“Leicester is a team built of players who were not good enough for other clubs. From there to come together and then be at the top shows unbelievable work ethic. They could win the Premier League which would be the biggest achievement ever,” the Welshman said.

He also thinks that the Indian Super League (ISL) could benefit Indian football in the long run as some of his friends who have been here have given him a positive feedback about the tournament.

“A few of my friends have played in it like David James and Steven Pearson. David Platt managed FC Pune City. They have said it is very vibrant with many fans. Unbelievable atmosphere. Five India players playing in one team. I think it will only benefit Indian football,” Savage said.

“Trying to get Indian players an opportunity so I think it’s great. My first trip to India. The experience has been amazing so far. Traffic is unbelievable. Never seen so many cars in my life.”

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