John Terry’s Chelsea teammates appear hesitant to come to the England captain’s defence as the race row that erupted around his exchange with QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a match on Sunday looks set to escalate.

According to the Mirror newspaper, the only person to publicly support Terry so far has been manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The tabloid quotes a source as saying of Terry’s teammates: “There has been no word from them. They’ve not said anything.”

The row began after TV cameras seemed to catch Terry saying the words “black c***” as he walked away from his on-pitch argument with Ferdinand, in the midst of what was a stormy West London derby.

Terry does not deny that he said the words “black c***”, but insisted they were taken out of context. He claims that he actually said, “Oi, Anton, do you think I called you a black ****?” after becoming convinced that Ferdinand accused him of making a racist remark during their argument.

Terry admitted that he had “responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term”.

He added that he spoke to Ferdinand about the incident in the dressing room afterwards to explain his version of events and clear the air.

FA chiefs have now launched an investigation after QPR filed a complaint, with three QPR players thought to have backed up Ferdinand’s version of events.

Former England striker Les Ferdinand – Anton’s cousin – apparently told reporters that Terry should never be allowed to play for England again if found guilty of the slur.

At the Black List Awards in London, he is reported to have said: “It’s down to the FA, but I’d be shouting from the rooftops [for that].

“They need to make a statement. If they don’t, paltry fines that have been handed out in the past prove that these people do not believe there is a problem with racism in football.”

The Metropolitan Police is also carrying out an assessment of the incident before deciding whether to launch an official investigation.