Is Chelsea's John Terry the Premier League's greatest defender?
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 01/02/16 9:08pm
Is John Terry the greatest defender in Premier League history? We look at the stats to see where the Chelsea icon ranks…
Terry splits opinion like few other players and since he announced Chelsea will not be renewing his contract at the end of the season, the reaction has been predictably mixed.
Many will not mourn the departure of one of the Premier League's most controversial characters, but to those who have cherished his contribution to Chelsea, there is sadness, anger and regret.
But whether you love him or loathe him, Terry's pedigree cannot be questioned. His trophy-laden career has spanned 18 Premier League campaigns, and his outstanding contribution to Chelsea's last title triumph was a testament to his remarkable endurance.
He is certainly not without admirers, either. "John Terry has been the best Premier League defender I've seen, the best centre-back I've ever played against," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp on Sunday night. "He's just been a warrior."
Jamie Carragher offered a similar assessment after watching Terry lift his fourth title last season. "There have been a lot of great centre-backs in Premier League history, but I think he has been the best that we've seen," he said.
Terry has provided the foundations for the era of unprecedented success that has followed Roman Abramovich's takeover in 2003, and Chelsea's "Captain, Leader, Legend" will go down in Premier League history too.
Most Premier League appearances for defenders
From his debut as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Southampton in 1998 to his inspirational performance in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Arsenal last weekend, Terry has made 477 Premier League appearances.
Terry the Premier League legend
SSNHQ's Andy Burton reflects on John Terry's last six months at Chelsea.
He has played under 10 different managers and been written off more than once, but he has made a habit of proving his doubters wrong, and his recent displays at Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium show he is still at home on the big stage.
Carragher, Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell may have the edge on him for Premier League appearances, but in 2014/15 he achieved something that no other outfield player has managed since Manchester United's Gary Pallister in 1992/93 when he played in every minute of every game of title-winning season. It's no mean feat for a man who turned 34 that year.
Zouma shocked by Terry exit
Kurt Zouma admits that he is surprised at Chelsea's decision not to renew John Terry's contract.
Terry played a pivotal role in Chelsea's 17 clean sheets in 2014/15, and his overall record of 212 shut-outs is unrivalled among Premier League defenders. No current defender even features in the top 10, and Terry will be aiming to add to his tally before the end of the campaign.
Most Premier League clean sheets for defenders
His clean sheets total gives him a rate of 44.4 per cent, which is only fractionally bettered by Tony Adams and Nemanja Vidic of defenders to have made at least 200 Premier League appearances.
Clean sheet percentage for defenders (min 200 apps)
|Player||Appearances||Clean sheets||Clean sheet %|
Terry also ranks highly for win percentage, with 302 Premier League victories in 477 games giving him a win rate of 63.3 per cent.
That puts him well ahead of the likes of Carragher, Ferdinand and Campbell, and means he also ranks in the top 10 for defenders with a minimum of 200 appearances.
Premier League win percentage for defenders (min 200 apps)
Terry doesn't just prevent goals, either. The former England captain is a major threat in the opposition penalty box and has a knack of popping up in the right place at the right time.
He is the highest-scoring defender in Premier League history with 40, and that total is all the more impressive considering none of them have come from the penalty spot.
Most Premier League goals from defenders
|David Unsworth||38 (inc. 22 penalties)|
|Ian Harte||28 (inc. 10 penalties)|
|Leighton Baines||26 (inc. 15 penalties)|
Terry's departure will mark the end of an era. And while he remains a polarising figure, the statistics show he has a strong case to be considered the greatest defender in Premier League history.
Do you think Terry is the greatest? Leave a comment below or tweet us your thoughts @SkyFootball