Conte backs Terry to play on

Antonio Conte has reiterated that he believes John Terry should – and will – continue playing when he leaves Chelsea.

The former England captain, 36, will bring his long career at Stamford Bridge to an end when he leaves at the end of the season.

He suggested in a post-match television interview after playing in Chelsea’s win over Watford on Monday that he might retire rather than join another club, after which Blues boss Conte insisted he should play on.

And on Friday afternoon, Conte again backed Terry to move elsewhere and play regular first-team football next season.

The Italian said: “We all know he wants to play regularly. For this reason he has decided to leave because he wants to play every week and he has the possibility to do this.

“He is still strong and the moment I called him to play he showed this.

“When you arrive at this point in your career it is very important that you feel you still have the desire to work very hard.

“If you feel this then it is right to continue to play and I think John has all of these characteristics.”

Conte also refused to confirm that Terry will start for Chelsea in the newly-crowned champions’ final league match of the season, at home to Sunderland on Sunday.

He said: “I think in this situation it’s important to take your time and take the best decision for him because I think John deserves the best for this reason. I think on Sunday we will see what happens.

“It will be a surprise, because it’s important to take the best decision for him. He is a legend for this club and this season he has been very important for us winning the title.

“I have to take my time to make the best decision.”