Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has paid tribute to former England captain John Terry, claiming the Chelsea defender is amongst the toughest he has ever faced.
The 31-year-old took the decision to retire from the international scene, after earning 78 caps, and captaining the Three Lions for two separate periods.
Terry's decision was motivated by an FA charge that accused him of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand - brother of Old Trafford stalwart, Rio Ferdinand - despite the Stamford Bridge stopper being cleared in a criminal court.
He was subsequently fined £220,000 and banned for four Chelsea matches.
Now, as England prepare to host San Marino in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Friday night, Rooney took the opportunity to praise the contribution of the centre-half.
"John has been fantastic for us," the Red Devils star is quoted by The Sun. "He's an old-fashioned centre-half, not afraid to get his foot in. He has been great.
"Obviously he has made his decision to retire and we have to respect it. But of course he will be a loss to us.
"Him and Paulo Maldini are probably the two toughest defenders I have played against."
Terry has until October 18 to decide whether or not he will appeal against the FA's punishment, but sources close to the Chelsea star suggest that no decision has been made.
Meanwhile, Rooney will be hoping to get some playing time under manager Roy Hodgson, after missing qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine after suffering a horrific gash to his thigh, in Manchester United's Premier League clash against Fulham back in August.