John Terry: Wayne Rooney Is England's One 'Irreplaceable' Player

Three Lions must find a way to win without the Manchester United talisman…

Chelsea skipper John Terry has admitted that filling the void left by Wayne Rooney is a difficult task for England.

The Blues defender, who also captains his country, feels that the Manchester United forward is one of the few players in Fabio Capello's squad who brings something unique to the set-up.

"We have missed Wayne in big tournaments. When we have been at tournaments, he has picked up an injury and a suspension," Terry told reporters at a press conference today.

"Is he the one that is irreplaceable? I think so. I think we have seen him mature as a man and as a player in the last one or two years, grow up and take a lot of responsibility.

"I think before, he lost his head on a couple of occasions and he has learnt from that and thankfully we are not seeing that side of him.

"We are seeing the real Wayne Rooney and he is one of the best with the problems he caused. He is in great goalscoring form for England and Manchester United.

"This is a chance to play without him and the manager to try maybe one or two other players up front and give the other players a chance.

"In the Germany game 12 months ago, there were positive signs when we had players missing. Gabby Agbonlahor came in and did really well, and Shaun Wright-Phillips also.

"This is another opportunity for other players to come in and prove themselves. It is another chance for players to maybe cement their place on the plane to the World Cup."

Terry also claimed that he could fully understand Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey publicly airing his concerns at a lack of first-team action at Villa Park.

Heskey said yesterday that he might have to weigh up his options in January should the situation not improve, as he is keen to ensure he is on the plane to South Africa next summer.

"I understand that. Players want to play week in and week out. Hopefully he won't be playing next week for Villa against Chelsea," Terry joked.

"He is a fantastic player and really hard to play against. People go on about his goalscoring, but he brings an awful lot more to the pitch than just that.

"His link-up play is fantastic. It is difficult for him. They have John Carew there as well. I totally understand it. Emile has been very open about things.

"I am sure inside he wants to fight for his place and get back in the Villa side."

And the Chelsea defender also confirmed that the whole England squad were supporting Rio Ferdinand, whose error led to Rob Green's sending off and ultimate defeat in Ukraine at the weekend.

He explained: "We have looked at things when we have made mistakes, not just the defensive errors, and the manager won't leave anything unturned.

"I don't want to get into the issue of Rio but the other players are 100 per cent behind him. We all make mistakes.

"He is a massive player in the squad and so important to us. He is the one who can't wait for this game and is looking forward to put his performance in. His drive and desire to win is massive."

Zack Wilson, UK