John Terry and Chelsea fans alike are savouring the prospect of the veteran skipper playing yet another campaign in a blue shirt.
Following months of speculation the 35-year-old skipper would be let go at the conclusion of last season, the club’s decision to hand him a one-year contract extension will take him into his 22nd year at Stamford Bridge.
Terry will likely remain a significant figure at Chelsea next term due to his leadership and mentoring qualities, but the impending arrival of Antonio Conte leaves the scope of his role on the pitch difficult to predict.
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Compared to the other ten managers who have led Chelsea during his senior career, the Blues legend could find his first-team status under threat once the Italian takes over after Euro 2016.
Several factors could influence how much action Terry sees next season, many of which are out of his control.
Although yet to make a single acquisition this summer, Chelsea have a versatile squad with the capacity to handle numerous strategies.
This could spell bad news for Terry if Conte elects to implement the 3-5-2 system he has enjoyed so much success with during spells in charge of Juventus and Italy.
The former England captain has increasingly found himself exposed against quick opponents – even with the athletic likes of Kurt Zouma or Gary Cahill partnering him in defence.
While Terry’s experience and defensive nous can help him avoid being lured into footraces, his lack of speed would arguably make him a liability in a three-man defence.
And if Conte insists on utilising his trademark 3-5-2 tactic, he is sure to dip into the transfer market at some stage this summer.
With Terry well into the twilight of his playing days and Zouma recovering from a serious knee injury, a mobile centre-back capable of joining Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic or Matt Miazga in the heart of the defence is sure to be among the 46-year-old’s top priorities.
Terry already has enough competition on his hands and any new defensive signings will only hinder his bid for a regular starting role.
If the Chelsea star is forced to earn first-choice status under Conte, the rigours of a long campaign could play into his favour.
Even the fittest squad can be susceptible to injuries and if Terry is given an opportunity to crack the first XI, a brave man would bet against him grasping it with both hands.
However, if the latter stages of last season are anything to go by, keeping himself in peak condition could prove to be a battle itself.
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