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Baxter hoping Khune brings the magic

South Africa
By ESPN Staff

Grant backs Terry to stay in England role

Manager Avram Grant has rejected speculation over John Terry's future as England captain by claiming his conduct at Chelsea is impeccable.

Terry's suitability for the role has been called into question amid criticism over his hounding of referees and behaviour off the pitch.

The 27-year-old could be the first high-profile victim of Fabio Capello when the Italian begins his tenure as England boss.

But Grant has been impressed by Terry's leadership, especially during the upheaval that ensued in the wake of Jose Mourinho's exit in September.

'If you ask the coaches and managers all over the world if they want a captain like John Terry, they will say yes,' said the Blues manager. 'Just one of John's strengths is on the pitch. His other strengths are the way he connects with other players and what he does for children.

'I see him day by day and what he does off the pitch is an example to others. People are often judged on what is written about them, but sometimes there is a writer who doesn't like John Terry or me.

'Judge John through his actions - not what is being written about him. He's a professional and he's doing what he needs to do. I don't know where this talk has come from.

'John is a great captain on the pitch, off the pitch, 24 hours a day. Everything looks good at Chelsea now but back in September we had problems and he did a great job for the team.

'Everyone sees he's a good player, but off the pitch he pulled everyone together during what was a difficult time. His actions showed he cared about Chelsea and not other things.

'He's doing the same for England - he got injured for six weeks because he wanted to play for England against Russia. I don't think there is a better captain in England.'

Terry will wear the Chelsea armband for tomorrow's Premier League clash with leaders Arsenal at the Emirates.

The Blues lie only three points behind their title rivals and once hostilities are over Grant will renew a friendship with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger that has spanned a decade.

Grant - who signed a new four-year contract on Thursday - is an unashamed admirer of Wenger, but refuses to copy the Frenchman as he seeks to forge his own path.

'Arsene is a great coach and great person. He has a great vision about football - he thinks about it in the right way,' he said. 'He doesn't just think in the short term but builds from the base. I like him.

'I like to take good things from any coach I respect and he's one of them. But I like to do things my way.

'Arsene has built his team over many years and what I will try to do is build a style that is good for Chelsea over the long and short term.

'Our clubs play different football, but we both play positive football.'