Antonio Conte: 'John Terry remains important player for Chelsea'

Conte: 'Terry remains important to Chelsea'
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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says that he 'respects' John Terry's decision to leave the club, but believes that the skipper still has a big role to play this term.

Antonio Conte has claimed that outgoing skipper John Terry remains a "very important" player for Chelsea as they hunt for a domestic double.

The 36-year-old announced earlier this week that he intends to depart Stamford Bridge at the end of the campaign, bringing an end to his two-decade long association with the club.

Many current and former pros have been quick to hail Terry's impact in West London over the past 22 years, which could end with him lifting another Premier League and FA Cup crown next month, and Conte admits that waving goodbye to the Englishman this summer will be a "serious loss" for the club.

"I am not surprised about [the reaction]. I am repeating that John, for me in this first season, is very important. He is helping me on and off the pitch," he told reporters.

"He is a great captain - the problem is that John wants to play regularly and for this reason we have to respect his decision. I was a footballer and when you arrive at this point of your career, and your body tells you to continue it is right to.

"We have to respect his decision. If you ask me if next season it is a serious loss... yes, I think so. I am seeing what John is doing this season in the changing room. We are building a foundation and he is important to this."

Terry has made 713 senior appearances for Chelsea in all, but has been handed just four starts in the Premier League since Conte took charge.

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