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Antonio Conte extols Terry's leadership, determination, and ability to continue playing at the highest level

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When Antonio Conte was confirmed as the new Chelsea head coach, John Terry was still without a new contract extension.  His two decades of service to the club looked to be at an end.

While we can only speculate whether Conte had anything to do with the eleventh-hour offer and subsequent amicable resolution, but given the enthusiastic praise he's pouring on the Chelsea captain, it would not be surprising if the new coach's first order of business had been to ensure that the JT deal got done.

"Yes. I must say John is a good example during the training session. He has the right attitude and the right behaviour. I must say all the players have a good attitude in the training session also."

"I think one player must play when he feels able to - he has the will to go every day to the training ground to help, to have the training session, with the team and go away many days from your wife or your children. If you feel this, I think it's right to continue to play. Does Terry feel like this? Yes, I think so because I see he has this will."

Terry had been written off a few times in his career, most notably in the 2012-13 season under Interim management.  Jose Mourinho's return that summer revitalized the Chelsea legend's career, so much so that in his mid-30s during Chelsea's trophy-winning season,  Terry had been back in the conversation as the best center back playing in England.

Those skills may have rapidly diminished last season, but Conte's counting on the Captain to provide leadership both on and off the pitch, regardless of playing time.

"Is he still important to this team? Yes. In every team there are some players with great experience. And I think this experience counts during the season. If you play, but also if you don't play, it's important. The experience helps transfer the right concept to the team."

"To explain the difference between to win a game and to lose or to draw. All players are important with great experience and it's important also that I call him in the starting XI to have a good performance and to play well."

-Antonio Conte; source Evening Standard

Judging by preseason, wherein JT played almost every minute, and the lack of any new signings in any position across the back four, the 35-year-old Terry probably doesn't have to worry about losing his first-team spot just yet.  Hopefully he and whoever ends up being his partner (Cahill?) manage to rediscover their form from two years ago.

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