Former Chelsea defender, John Terry, has been building himself up towards a future in the dugout as manager after retiring from professional football. Terry left the Blues in 2017 to spend a season as club captain at Aston Villa, leading them to a 1-0 play-off final defeat to Fulham, and announced his retirement last October shortly before rejoining Villa as head coach Dean Smith’s assistant.
Terry, who played under the likes of Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte at Chelsea, said he tried to learn something from each of them. “I always took an interest in what was going on; with certain managers there were things I liked, and a lot of things I didn’t like, and why I would do it, why I wouldn’t, and what I think the players want and need,” the 38-year-old said. “I had a lot of notes from sessions I’d seen previously from really good managers, and some sessions from managers that didn’t work and the players didn’t enjoy.”
The Stamford Bridge legend supports Smith alongside co-assistant head coach Richard O’Kelly, who worked with the Villa boss at his previous club Brentford, in the West Midlands. And the former centre-back says he is still developing as a coach. “It forms day-by-day,” Terry says of his coaching style. “Sometimes I walk in from a training session and I’m disappointed in myself that, whether it be a passing or possession session, it doesn’t go as well as you think.”
He added: “Like you always do, as a player and a coach, you always have to walk in from a training session and say: ‘How can I improve, what did I do right, what did I do wrong?’ Very much the same as a player. Sometimes you come in and say: ‘I’ve nailed it,’ but you have to write it down. It’s a bit like being at school, constantly learning, and I’m like a sponge at the minute. You have to analyse yourself.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s poor form in 2019, which has caused them to lose away fixtures to Arsenal, Bournemouth and Manchester City, has led to speculation linking Terry as a replacement for current head coach Maurizio Sarri. But Terry is enjoying his time at Aston Villa as Smith has improved the Villains’ league position by two places to 13th since replacing Steve Bruce, but has struggled to maintain consistent results, with Villa remaining eight points off the top six.