By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
John Terry has hit back at controversial pundit Robbie Savage and claimed the former Wales international “played at a really bad level”.
The Chelsea captain admits that his individual performances have been below-par this season but made it clear that he was unwilling to accept the words of former players whose careers he does not respect.
The 34-year-old welcomed criticism from “the very best”, namechecking former England colleagues Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville but shot back at Savage.
“I’ve come under criticism individually from certain players, individuals I’ve looked up to and played alongside,” Terry said on Tuesday.
“I’ll take that on the chin 100 per cent from the likes of Rio, Carra and Neville, we’re talking about the very best I’ve come across in the game.
“I’ll sit there, listen, take it all in and try to improve. I don’t take that in a negative way.
“When certain other people speak, maybe not, maybe I don’t listen or take it on the chin from players who haven’t had a career or have played at a really bad level and then come for me after what I’ve achieved in my career, Robbie Savage being one.
“He’s done it a couple of times. I’ll take it all day long from the very best but other people, nah.”
Savage responded to Terry’s comments on Twitter. He wrote: “Thx for the name check John good to know your watching I look forward to analysing tomorrow’s performance Saturday morning.”
Examining Terry’s form earlier this season in his newspaper column, Savage wrote: “Looking in the mirror and admitting you’re no longer the force of old is one of the hardest truths for top players to confront.”
He went on to reference how Jose Mourinho’s substitution of Terry at half-time in the August 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was “the beginning of the end for Terry as the indispensable rock at the heart of defence”.