John Terry is still Chelsea captain says Antonio Conte

Italian says he wants to use the player's leadership to turn a 'small flame' into a 'towering inferno' at Stamford Bridge

Antonio Conte
(Image credit: Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has confirmed that John Terry will continue to play for the Blues next season and will remain as club captain after he signed a new contract in May.

There had been speculation that Terry had agreed to a new role at Stamford Bridge after going back on a threat to leave the club at the end of last season. But, speaking at his first press conference as Chelsea boss, Conte revealed that Terry was still on the books as a player and said that it had been his decision to offer the 35-year-old a new deal.

Terry changed his mind about staying with Chelsea six weeks after the club announced that Conte would be taking over.

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The former Italy boss described the veteran defender as "a great player with a great personality" and said he would be an important figure during his first season in charge as "he knows the club and the spirit".

But he also hinted that the 35-year-old would not be a regular in the first team. "When he plays he is the captain, when he doesn't play he is the captain," he said.

Conte also spoke about the challenges of managing in the Premier League and refused to confirm which system he would play.

"Conte, who has won five Serie A titles as a player and three as a manager, is known for using a 3-5-2 system during his time at Juventus and with Italy's national team," reports

But the new Chelsea boss was coy about his options next season. "The manager was like a tailor who must build a dress – the best dress for the team," he said. "You must respect the talent of the team, of the players, you learn and then you can change. Three at the back, four at the back, it is not important."

Conte concluded by admitting that last season had been disappointing for the Blues and signed off with a flourish. "There is a small flame flickering that can turn into a towering inferno," he said.

It was an impressive performance, conducted in English, says the BBC. "He handled his first news conference very well, but you suspect once he settles in the job and improves his English, there'll be fireworks flying between him and the journalists."

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