England players: Terry’s tackle ‘out of control’

Billy Hack chief football correspondent

Fearful England players are calling for immediate action after John Terry’s tackle almost ended yet another team-mate’s hopes of going to the World Cup this summer.

The defender has received huge criticism for his challenge on England team-mate James Milner during Chelsea’s victory over Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final this weekend – just months after Terry’s tackle ruined Wayne Bridges hopes of playing in the World Cup.

Pictures of the incident relating to Bridge were deemed far too graphic for terrestrial television – but can be seen online for a premium fee. The ‘reckless’ challenge on Milner this weekend, though, was witnessed by thousands of fans.

And Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill said the young midfielder was fortunate to still have a career ahead of him.

“Right now the number one threat to taking a full squad to the World Cup is JT’s tackle,” an England insider told Sporting Balls.

“It’s out of control and it must be stopped.”

Terry has a reputation for an aggressive approach and leaving people writhing on the ground – occasionally taking assailants from behind.

England manager Fabio Capello denied Terry’s actions were part of any kind conspiracy or revenge mission after he was stripped of the captaincy.

But that has not stopped his international team-mates calling for ‘immediate and decisive action’ as the issue threatens to overshadow England’s World Cup efforts and create discord within the camp.

“I can’t sleep at night,” said another England insider. “I lie awake in fear, sweating and short of breathe, thinking to myself ‘will I be next?’

“Will John Terry’s tackle end my hopes of going to the World Cup?”

* This article was selected at random from a number of entirely fictitious accounts.

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