Former Chelsea star Deco believes John Terry should start against Manchester United on Sunday if he is fit.
The 35-year-old missed their 3-0 win over Leicester City last weekend, despite having returned from injury before the clash.
However, the Portuguese thinks that the club captain’s experience could be vital in what will be a huge match for the Blues.
‘If he is playing well, he needs to stay and play because he is a legend, a true captain. He is one of the best I have ever played with,’ Deco told the Evening Standard.
‘He is a fantastic guy who is very important to the team and the club. He is a leader and when you have a player like him, you need to keep him for as long as you can, for as long as he can play.
‘Players like this have the qualities to set an example for their team-mates. They train well every time, they work hard and they want to win all games — even in training sessions. This is why they become captains, because these are the qualities you need to have.’
Chelsea’s game against the Red Devils will be a test to see if they have progressed since defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal last month – and if they are capable of challenging for the top-flight title this season.