KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Roy Hodgson has praised John Terry's contribution to England's successful charge to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
Prior to departure for Poland and Ukraine, Terry's presence within Hodgson's squad had been viewed as a potentially divisive issue.
It was felt Terry's selection had led directly to Rio Ferdinand's omission, which itself became a matter of huge public debate that overshadowed the days before England left for their Krakow base.
Once the action started, though, the Chelsea skipper proved exactly why Hodgson wanted him on board.
He may no longer wear the captain's armband, having been stripped of the honour twice, and next month he will go to court to try and clear his name of racism allegations he strenuously denies.
On the field, though, he remains a leader, with his defensive display against Ukraine in Donetsk last Tuesday among the best individual performances in the entire competition.
And it is clear Hodgson is happy to have Terry around.
"As a coach you have to be very careful taking on board these rumours, fears and suggestions," he said.
"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."
For the second major tournament, Gerrard has been the direct beneficiary of Terry's captaincy issues, although he does not view the armband as offering exclusivity when it comes to guiding the team.
"It's not just about one captain in this squad," the Liverpool midfielder 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 and we'll certainly need another tomorrow night."