Forget Terry, go with Stones
Big Sam must forget Chelsea's pensioner Terry and go with City's Stones
Sam Allardyce already suffers from comparisons to Fred Flintstone.
He's considered a bit of a relic, an England manager who doesn't drive himself to the office, but pushes his feet through the car and pounds the pavement.
And if he's seriously entertaining the prospect of recalling John Terry, then he might as well bring back Barney Rubble.
Terry's time has passed. The Three Lions' future belongs to John Stones.
But Allardyce's willingness to speak to the 35-year-old Chelsea captain hints at the kind of parochialism that sceptics feared when the manager took over a month ago.
Anyone vaguely familiar with the machinations of the media know exactly what happened in Allardyce's press conference, as the coach fell for an obvious, leading question about Terry.
Not much is happening at the moment. Midweek League Cup games generate little interest and the transfer window doesn't close for another week, so there's a shortage of splashy news.
But England are short of fit centre backs. Terry is not only a centre back, but comes with more baggage than a Samsonite sale.
So Allardyce was asked to comment on a possible Terry return, a scenario entirely manufactured by a journalist with a back page to fill.
Obviously, the manager was expected to reject the daft notion, which would've still allowed a headline along the lines of, "Allardyce denies Terry interest" and provided a manufactured talking point.
But Allardyce, perhaps in his eagerness not to offend anybody in his new job, took the bait.
He expressed a mild interest in Terry. He put diplomacy ahead of decisiveness, a rookie's mistake for such a seasoned pro.
There can be no way back for Terry. The prospect of the polarising defender pulling on an England jersey again is utterly inconceivable.
He's 36 in December and hasn't featured for the national side since September 2012.
After a stellar season in 2014-2015, his form was so erratic in the subsequent campaign, he was lucky to get a new one-year contract.
More importantly, Terry's retirement came about after he was found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, which immediately ended the friendship and international playing partnership with Anton's older brother Rio.
It was a grubby, some might say "fitting", end to an England career already tarnished by an alleged affair that somehow culminated with Fabio Capello's resignation.
Terry's talent has long been compromised by his toxic presence in the England dressing room. To the casual observer, he came to represent all that was supposedly wrong with the indulged, unapologetic modern footballer.
Allardyce's first objective after England's Euro 2016 farce is to repair a shattered camp. Terry's return cannot do that.
He will instead open a can of rancid worms, providing limitless ammunition for the haters and proving that Allardyce is a man for all seasons past.
Only Stones is a step in the right direction.
After falling for the Terry nonsense, Allardyce at least signalled a new, enlightened era with his admiration for the 22-year-old centre back.
Stones comes with no skeletons in the closet, just a ball at his feet and a willingness to learn how to defend like a young John Terry. He already carries himself like a young Rio Ferdinand.
If the Manchester City man can add a little punch to that effortless passing, Stones should become England's defensive bedrock.
The clay remains a tad soft, but there's plenty to work with.
The sculpting begins on Sept 4 against Slovakia.
But then, it's already started, the relationship with master and apprentice forged a few weeks ago. City's gain is also England's gain.
Pep Guardiola gets to mould another defensive model.
The City manager's attention to detail begins at the back and his success in turning promising centre backs into European titans cannot be underestimated.
He took a chance on a youngster in English football, one with a reputation for dribbling rather than defending and turned him into a leading practitioner around the penalty box. And Gerard Pique went from Manchester United to Champions League winner.
In the short term, Stones needs to go from Everton hopeful to City and England regular.
His elevation allows Allardyce to start afresh and close the book on Three Lions' failures.
Nothing can be gained from resurrecting a divisive character from the distant past.
If Allardyce wants to shake off the dinosaur tag, he must resist the temptation to bring back another.
What they say
"I don't know what the political side of that might mean, if there is a political side. I'll have to have that conversation if I feel that John Terry may be a possibility.
"I think it depends on what John said. Maybe if I get the opportunity, I might have to give him a ring. But until I come to that selection or that process, we'll wait and see."
- England manager Sam Allardyce on the possibility of recalling John Terry
"I don't think it is a good thing to do it all. The last game he played was September 2012, which is four years ago.
"I know he has being doing pretty well in the Premier League, but it is a negative thing to do. The next thing we will be having Bobby Charlton back in the team!
"Let's look forward. John Stones has got the move he wanted (to Man City) and the best move from England's point of view as well, he's improving, so it is someone to play alongside John Stones."
- Former England defender Terry Butcher (below) says it would be a major mistake to bring John Terry out of international retirement