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By ESPN Staff

Fit-again Terry hits back at England critics

Chelsea captain John Terry insists he is fit and ready to give his all as the Blues prepare to take on fellow Premier League pacesetters Liverpool.

Terry, 27, was ''gutted'' to miss England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus due to a back problem earlier this month.

He was shocked to hear some voices questioning his commitment to England and claims his critics must not understand his passion for the national team.

Terry has returned to club action and it was his header which secured a 1-0 win over Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.

As Chelsea prepare for their second home match in five days, Sunday's clash with Rafael Benitez's side, Terry stressed he always wants to be involved, whether with Luiz Felipe Scolari's Chelsea or Fabio Capello's England.

''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.

''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.''

Terry will continue to take all necessary measures to prevent the back becoming a regular problem.

''I'm in a fit condition and raring to go,'' he stressed. ''I have just had a stiff back which we can all get.''

Terry's Chelsea colleague Juliano Belletti will be hoping to be recalled to Scolari's starting XI on Sunday, having dropped to the bench for the match against Roma despite hitting a stunning goal in the 5-0 drubbing of Middlesbrough last weekend.

Belletti has warned Chelsea's Premier League rivals he is capable of repeating the strike in future games, and he is enjoying a midfield role having come to the club as a right-back.

''I feel comfortable in this position, and importantly I play with the best players in the world in this position, like Frank Lampard, Deco, Mikel,'' he told

He added: ''When I was in Brazil I tried to shoot a lot from outside the area.

''I remember I scored a lot of goals from this position.

''Now, Scolari always says in training, 'shoot, shoot, try to shoot', and sometimes it works. It is not always a goal, but I will keep trying.''


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