John Terry has rounded on the critics who question his England commitment and insisted he will always put his country before Chelsea.
The 27-year-old was fuming after Wednesday's Champions League victory against Roma at continued speculation over how he managed to return for Chelsea's last two games after missing England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus with a back injury.
"People should know what I'm like as a player and as a character," said Terry. "It's just disappointing that anyone would question my determination to play for my club or country."
He added: "No one was more gutted than me, as England captain, to walk away from the squad last week and watch them travel to Belarus.
"I did everything to get fit but my back just wasn't right. I have worked hard my whole career not to miss any games. It has been frustrating the last two years because I've picked up a few injuries.
"But England is the ultimate. You get picked for England by playing well for your club. England is far bigger than Chelsea, far bigger than Manchester United because you're representing your country and we're all very proud to do it, no-one more than me.
"I don't understand where all this is coming from, the back is completely fine. I've had no bad responses since the operation and I've been doing exercises since then, which I need to continue doing. But I'm in a fit condition and raring to go. I have just had a stiff back which we can all get."
Meanwhile, Chelsea's midfield playmaker Deco insists he can play a pivotal part in bringing success to the club for years to come after quickly adapting to life in England.
"I have a three-year contract here but I don't think about next year, just the present and that is good," he said. "I don't know how I will be playing in three years but if I continue doing well I think I can do some important things for Chelsea.
"I want to continue playing very well to win as many games as possible. Because I came from Barcelona, it was important that I played well from the start. But it will be even better if I am able to finish well."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.