Journalist Stuart Appleby interviews Chelsea captain, John Terry after the UEFA Champions League Trophy Handover Ceremony at Banqueting House, Whitehall, London.
Chelsea captain John Terry believes the staging of the men’s and women’s Champions League finals in London next month can provide a boost to grassroots football in Britain.
Speaking in an exclusive interview after the UEFA Champions League Trophy Handover Ceremony, the former England international said he hopes the matches, taking place at Wembley and Stamford Bridge, will encourage youngsters to play more football and try to replicate the skills they watch.
“With the Champions League men’s and women’s finals being held in London it can only encourage interest from the local kids. I remember watching big finals whether it was at Wembley or Champions League finals when I was younger and the first thing you do after is get the ball and go out with your mates to try to copy the game that has just gone on.
“Hopefully the games will have an effect on people locally. I think having the Olympics in this country helped too and encouraged the children,” the 32-year-old added.
With the influx of overseas talent into the English game over the last two decades, it is clear the game has moved on and improved, but many suggest at the expense of young English footballers looking to make that decisive breakthrough.
Terry, who made his Chelsea debut at the age of 18 in 1998, admitted that the access up-and-coming footballers have to football now is a lot different to when he played as a child. “When I was younger things were very different, we played out a lot later at night and it’s difficult for the younger kids now to keep safe.
“There’s not too many places to play either and nine times out of ten they’re getting told off by residents for playing ball games. It’s very difficult and it must be frustrating for them as well.”
In an era when English football’s pool of talent is arguably not as strong as its been in years gone by, Terry says there’s no secret to making the grade as a young player.
He said: “My advice to up-and-coming young footballers would be to work very hard actually. I see a lot of younger players now, about 14 to 16-year-olds, finish their training and then go home. As a youth player I spent a lot of time on the training field working on my heading, weaknesses and footwork.
“You really need to work hard and be that little bit better than everyone else because there’s so much natural talent out there.”
The 2013 UEFA Women’s Champions League will be played at Stamford Bridge on 23 May and Wembley will stage the 2013 UEFA Champions League final on 25 May. You can listen to the full audio version of this interview by clicking on the link below.