Roy Hodgson has hailed John Terry's contribution to England's run through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, branding him 'a top-class professional'.
Hodgson's decision to include the Chelsea skipper within his 23-man squad was questioned by many prior to this summer's European Championship, with it feared that his presence may prove to be more of a hindrance than a help.
With a race trial hanging over the defender's head, it was suggested that team unity could be adversely affected.
Terry has, however, knuckled down and focused on his football, with his performances on the field justifying his inclusion in Hodgson's plans.
He may have been stripped of the national captaincy, but he remains an on-field leader and England's new boss is delighted to have the vastly experienced centre-half on his side.
"As a coach you have to be very careful taking on board these rumours, fears and suggestions," said Hodgson.
"It is so important you choose the players you think are the right ones, that you work with them and get the experience for yourself.
"I can only talk about John and the four or five weeks I have been working with him.
"He has been a top-class professional and very good off the field as well."
Steven Gerrard, who has inherited the armband for the second tournament running, has also been quick to praise the input of Terry and England's other senior stars as they look to end their long wait for international success.
"It's not just about one captain in this squad," he said.
"We've got a lot of leaders and fantastic people around the set-up, and the reason we're doing so well is because everyone is pulling in the right direction and leading by example.
"John has been a big part of that. His performances have been superb."
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