London: Chelsea head coach Guus Hiddink believes the English club will struggle to find another footballer with “deep down fire in body and soul” like veteran defender John Terry.
The Chelsea captain’s future is still up in the air with the club’s incoming chief coach Antonio Conte to decide whether the 35-year-old should be offered a one-year contract extension.
Terry has struggled with Achilles and hamstring injuries since February, limiting his opportunities to prove to the club he is worthy of a new deal.
The former England captain is also the last Chelsea academy graduate to become a first-team regular, playing over 700 times for the club.
And Hiddink said on Sunday that Terry is in the same mould as Manchester United’s home-grown heroes Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.
“You must have the deep down fire in your body, in your soul. You can produce players within big clubs with a strong desire to get the best out of themselves. All the big clubs have a few of those guys,” he was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk.
“When you go to Manchester United and you see the desire of Scholes at the time. You see the spirit, the desire, the fire in those guys. Giggs was also there, they have this huge desire.”
Despite entering the twilight of his career and with lucrative offers to move to China, the Middle-East and Major League Soccer (MLS) likely, interim coach Hiddink cannot fault Terry’s commitment to the Chelsea cause.
“What I see and know from him is that he desperately likes to play. He was almost unapproachable when he got this setback physically, which shows a big desire to play,” Hiddink said.
‘He’s always motivated. I never had one training session with him where I’ve said ‘Hey, John, you were not there. He was always there in both spells.
“He’s tackling whether it’s one day before the game or one or two days after the game. I had to put the brake on him a bit which means the desire is still high.”
If Terry is not offered a new contract, Hiddink said it would be folly not to use his vast experience to help up-and-coming players.
The Dutchman said: “It’s always good to have experience with people with a good attitude. At Chelsea, (Frank) Lampard, (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Ballack who are in the area and you have them somewhere in the club so they can influence the development of young players.
“We have that with Ajax and at PSV I had some old players there. They will be able to give their experience to other players or sections at the club.”