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LEO'S LONDON: John Terry must not follow Frank Lampard's path if he is to rise above the hate mob
Published : 10 Mar 2010 09:47:46Rss feed
Sacked England captain John Terry should not need reminding why he would be better off leaving his Chelsea skipper's armband alone when demonstrating defiance to his detractors. But, as he clearly does, West Ham's fans are likely to do the job as well as anyone. Fans' favourite: John Terry celebrates his goal against Stoke When Chelsea host their east London neighbours on Saturday, Terry'steam-mate Frank Lampard will get the usual friendly reception fromtheir travelling support. The England midfielder may have been voted into the West Ham team of the Noughties, left the club nine years ago and publicly softened his feelings towards them, but he will still get stick. Many of those abusing Lampard on Saturday have probably never seen him play live in claret and blue or know what the beef is with him. But one of the reasons he continues to be targeted is because he has never been able to rise above the abuse. Abuse: Frank Lampard and Terry are used to the jeers Despite advice from friends and family to do just that, Lampard has always found a way to rub it in for West Ham fans when he has come out on top. And given the relative strengths of the two teams, that has been a lot of the time. Of course, he doesn't deserve the abuse, but that is not the point. The one, surefire way to sustain it is to respond. Effectively sticking two fingers up to your detractors in public - as Terry did against Stoke on Sunday - is only going to make things worse. That way they are both provoked and know that they have been going the right way about riling their target. So if Terry wants to put his recent sorry saga behind him and prove how strong he is, he needs take a different route to his friend Frank and turn a deaf ear to the jeers. Arsenal fans yearning for a return to the quiet, reliable days of David Seaman can forget about getting that anytime soon. Wojciech Szczesny, their goalkeeper for the future, seems to be more Jens Lehmann than old safe hands. 'I don't want people to say that I am all right or average,' said the 19-year-old, who is on loan at Brentford and could easily earn the nickname Marmite. 'I want people to say I am the best and they love me, or the worst and they hate me.' More from Leo Spall... LEO'S LONDON: If Joe Cole is to burn bright again, the only way forward is through the Chelsea exit03/03/10 LEO'S LONDON: It's hard to show sympathy for sensitive Woodgate24/02/10 LEO'S LONDON: Mourinho is having a laugh over his latest Chelsea claims17/02/10 LEO'S LONDON: Arsenal face heartfelt blow if Spurs pip them to third10/02/10 LEO'S LONDON: Battle of Stamford Bridge could prove Arsenal's last stand03/02/10 LEO'S LONDON: Tottenham misfit Pavlyuchenko points the way to what is wrong with football27/01/10 LEO'S LONDON: Four years on, Theo Walcott must now prove he's World Cup class20/01/10 LEO'S LONDON: Simon Jordan may have ruffled a few feathers, but the game will be duller without him13/01/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVEPeter Crouch celebrated his recent successful England appearance by returning to Tottenham with shiny new gold boots. But by the way he played at Fulham last weekend the striker looked like he had lost his Midas touch. Crouch had his very own Mrs Redknapp moment, smashing the ball high into the stand from close range and prompting his manager to spin around in despair.Harry Redknapp clearly felt his missus could have scored it and the average performance should serve as a warning to anyone getting carried away about the striker's potency. Crouch is a decent player, not a genius who should be guaranteed a starting place for club or country. What he provides in height and touch is counter-balanced by a lack of pace and when Spurs can't give him Aaron Lennon's service, it makes life tough. When Jermain Defoe, with his speed and predatory instincts, is not alongside Crouch, Redknapp's team pack a much less fearsome punch too. Crouch's record this season for Spurs is five goals from 17 starts and 11 substitute appearances in the Premier League. That's a ratio edging towards a goal every six matches. In the FA Cup, where he has started four times, he has scored once. At Portsmouth last season he scored 11 goals in 38 starts in the league. Back down to earth: Peter Crouch struggled at Fulham Even for England, where his record is an eye-catching 20 in 37, half of his goals have come in friendlies and all but two were against unimpressive opposition. Despite his two goals against Egypt in a friendly last week, we are not talking about a goalscoring phenomenon. Maybe singling out the Fulham FA Cup game is tough because Roman Pavlyuchenko had a stinker too. But with less than impressive service, Crouch couldn't lift his side on to a new level. He can be a real handful and he is a very useful part of the Tottenham armoury, but he is not someone who can turn around a game on his own like Wayne Rooney or even Defoe. Hats off to Millwall manager Kenny Jackett, who has guided his team to eight wins from the last 10 matches. The latest victory on Tuesday night, a 3-1 success story at Carlisle, was even done without the presence of that experienced goalscorer Neil Harris. But now they face a serious test. Local rivals Charlton go to The Den on Saturday and then Millwall have a trip to Leeds to look forward to. If Jackett can keep his team cemented in the play-offs positions after those two games, him and his team will really be going places.
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