The moment England were paired with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in Group D at next summer's World Cup, the nation entertained the thought of departing Brazil before the knockout stages. The Three Lions crashed out to the Azzurri on penalties at Euro 2012, while Uruguay boast arguably the most potent strikeforce in international football in the form of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez.
Costa Rica will be no pushovers either in a group that many believe England will struggle to navigate their way out of. While Roy Hodgson's preferred centre-back pairing of Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill has been solid for the national team of late, it is hard to see them containing the attacking threat of the likes of Cavani, Suárez and Mario Balotelli in Brazil.
That has seen Chelsea's John Terry linked with a possible return to the international fold despite having announced his retirement from England duty last September. His displays have seen a number of former professionals call on Hodgson to plead with the centre-back to end his exile and consider returning to the squad.
The Blues captain currently boasts an average WhoScored rating of 7.28, only Eden Hazard (7.49) and Branislav Ivanovic (7.32) have scored higher for Chelsea, which highlights how impressive a campaign he's enjoying. The experience and leadership qualities of the 33-year-old would provide a welcome psychological boost to an England side that are tipped to struggle next summer.
His statistically calculated WhoScored.com strengths of 'passing' and 'aerial duels' is where the centre-back has excelled this term, with the latter facet of his game accentuated in that both of his league goals have been headers.
Terry has won 62 aerial duels in England's top tier this term; only Ben Turner (70), Ryan Shawcross (65) and Curtis Davies (64) have won more of every centre-back. The defender has often won praise for his capability in the air and this is reinforced in the number of aerial duels he's won already this season - an average of 3.9 per game.
For a team that has a WhoScored style of play of 'possession football', this aerial dominance could be considered a much-needed attribute that will be essential against teams that rely on the long ball approach to attack. However, with Chelsea also a boasting a style of play of 'short passes', Terry is also capable of matching the gameplan that Mourinho is looking to reintegrate at Stamford Bridge.
The defender has a pass success of 90.4% this term, only John Obi Mikel (91.3%) is better in that respect for the Blues while only 15 players rank better than him in the whole Premier League. Moreover, only Swansea's Chico (868) has played more accurate passes than Terry (813) of every centre-back, exhibiting how comfortable and accomplished the Chelsea skipper is on the ball, despite regularly being dubbed a no-nonsense defender.
This not only has benefitted Chelsea this term as they sit only 2 points off top spot, but would allow the national team to play a game that would benefit the players available to Hodgson. With the likes of Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere, Frank Lampard and Jordan Henderson all expected to be involved in the national team, and the quartet apt when in possession, Terry's ability to pick out a teammate would be a real bonus to England.
However, should opponents look to launch an aerial bombardment against the team, Terry would be on hand to defend against this form of attack and do so with minimal fuss. With the centre-back also averaging 7.3 clearances per game, the ability to remove the ball from danger by any means necessary will be an asset should England be defending with their backs against the wall.
Hodgson will need to coax the player out of international retirement if he is to return to the national fold. There have been murmurs that Terry would be willing to make himself available for selection, but at the time of writing, nothing has materialised regarding a possible England recall.
Yet, he's proven his defensive qualities this season and just in time for the upcoming World Cup. While it appears Cahill and Jagielka are first-choice for Hodgson, Terry's experience and evident ability in the back four would be a welcome boost to England, especially on the back of consecutive demoralising defeats to Chile and Germany.
His tournament knowledge would also play a significant role in a possible return and should he be able to replicate his club performances, the national team would undoubtedly stand a greater chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the World Cup with him in defence