Terry looks back on England debut
Wednesday, 17 August, 2011
John Terry recalls the first time he pulled on an England shirt.
England are approaching the final stages of qualification for the UEFA European Championship, and it was at this same stage eight years ago that John Terry made his competitive debut.
Having established himself at Chelsea the dominant centre back forced his way into Sven Goran Erikkson's squad in a friendly against Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester City. Then three months later as England came to the crunch to reach Euro 2004, Terry started all three qualifiers to help the Three Lions get to Portugal the following summer.
Speaking ahead of the new season Terry looked back on his first memories of playing for his country, and admitted that it remained the most special feeling to play for England.
Terry told TheFA.com: "The first time I pulled on an England shirt was against Finland for the Under-21s, and that was always the ultimate dream.
"I'd spent my childhood growing up watching league games, Cup Finals, but I always remember watching the England games with my Dad, and when I started playing football with my brother I remember always wanting to be an England player, I dreamed of playing for my country.
"That first time absolutely meant the world to me. I hadn't played at U18 or U19 level for England, so to play for the Under-21s meant so much. It was the best feeling I had ever had, to feel like I had achieved something I had dreamt of for so long and I was so happy to be able to make my Mum and Dad proud that day."
The culmination came three years later when Terry was given his senior bow against Serbia and Montenegro.
"It was another special moment for my whole family," Terry recalls. "I was in the squad so they all came over for the game, and then to get on was unreal.
"Then making my full debut against Croatia at Portman Road, people talk about it and it isn't just cliches. It was the best feeling.
"As a young boy on the street going over the park with my friends to play whenever we could, and then to be playing for my country was the best feeling I can't really describe how amazing it felt."
Having made his first senior steps at the conclusion of a European Championship qualifying campaign, Terry will now be keen to lead England to another major tournament.
England play Wales in their penultimate UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley, for tickets click here