Lampard: Terry is not a racist

Terry has been in the spotlight since he was alleged to have

racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand three weeks ago, an

allegation which is now the subject of a Metropolitan Police

investigation. Lampard will lead his country against world

champions Spain in Saturday’s friendly at Wembley with Terry not

under consideration to start the game. But the decision has been

made for footballing reasons by manager Fabio Capello, and Lampard

was quick to show his support for Terry. When asked if Terry was a

racist, Lampard said: “That’s a ridiculous question. No. Absolutely

not. Absolutely not.” Lampard, who is also a close friend of

Ferdinand’s brother and England team-mate Rio, admits he has left

Terry to deal with the allegations in his own way. He said: “I’ve

dealt with it in my own way. With these things, you have to keep

your counsel and get on with your job. “I work with John closely. I

speak with him all the time and work with him, as I always have.

It’s a difficult time for him. “If it was a difficult time for me,

I wouldn’t want someone coming in and asking me ‘what’s going on,

how do you feel?’ so I’ve let him be. “He’s getting on with his

job, as he always has done. In terms of Rio, I haven’t spoken to

Rio, but I’ll remain good friends with both. “It’ll be an easy

thing to talk about once it’s all probably been dealt with in the

right way.” Lampard also understands why Terry has not felt the

need to address the England squad over the issue. He said: “That’s

quite right as well. He’s a member of the squad. You have to take

the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ element of it. “The manager has

taken that, John has taken that, and that’s how it should be taken.

“The players respect him as a captain of the team, as a leader and

as a player. We’ve done the usual handshakes and ‘hellos’ when we

met up. As simple as that. “There has been no sense of awkwardness

this week. Football is like that. A lot can be made up talking

about or around a situation. But when you turn up, we’re all

players. We’ve all carried on.” In general terms, Lampard still

believes racism is a bigger problem in other countries and

remembers the racist abuse directed towards Ashley Cole when

England played Spain in Madrid seven years ago. He said: “I’ll

answer the broader issue. It’s certainly a problem that I’ve found

happens much more in certain parts of Europe and not so much in

England. “You’ll have to speak with the lads involved in it, the

Ashleys or Darren Bents, to see what they’ve personally gone

through. “But, in England, there’s not been a time when I’ve heard

anything particularly racial on a pitch. “Maybe a long time ago, I

heard things in the crowd, when I was growing up in certain

grounds, things that are seen as completely much more ignorant

these days. “It’s much less of a problem in my eyes. That doesn’t

mean you can be casual to make sure it doesn’t come back.” Lampard

added: “When we, as players, have played in the Spain game or

certain games when this has happened, it makes a bigger camaraderie

when you hear your team-mates getting that sort of abuse. “It only

brings you closer and pushes the people doing it away from you.

“John was supportive of Ashley then (against Spain). Of course he

was. We’re team-mates, we’re friends. I don’t know what kind of

person you would be if you weren’t supportive when that sort of

thing happens.” Capello was less forthcoming but admits he has no

regrets about reinstating Terry as captain. He said: “John has been

good. (There have been) no problems with him in training, training

with the other players. Really good. “I can’t speak about this (the

Metropolitan Police investigation). But I don’t regret it

(restoring Terry as captain). Absolutely not. “He is a really

important player in the dressing room and on the pitch. That’s why

we picked him as captain.” Capello also confirmed he wants Terry to

remain as captain, that he will return to lead the side against

Sweden on Tuesday, and wants to try out the Phil Jagielka-Joleon

Lescott combination against Spain.