John Terry: The number two Villain
John Terry has taken up a role as Aston Villa's assistant coach following his retirement from playing professional football
There are few players in Premier League history more controversial than John Terry.
The ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ tag that the Chelsea fans bequeathed upon him often grates with fans of other clubs.
Although his private life has often distracted from his footballing career, whether that be the Wayne Bridge storm, or spending his spare time on casino-fever it is difficult to argue that Terry doesn’t deserve the title of legend.
Following his retirement from football, Terry is set to take over as assistant manager of Aston Villa.
It should come as little surprise that the esteemed central defender is moving to a coaching role following confirmation from Sky Sports last year that the England defender was training for his coaching badges.
It is often hard to assess whether appointing a former player as a coach or manager is a gamble or not. But it would seem that Terry is an excellent candidate for the role.
A former great player does not equate to a great manager. Tony Adams, Sol Campbell and Roy Keane are all testament to that. In fact, it has often been cited that players who were head and shoulders above their peers can often fail to grasp the intricacies of management as football comes so naturally to them.
Lee Dixon often recalls the time Glenn Hoddle, England manager at the time, couldn’t grasp why Dixon was unable to play a 60-yard diagonal pass after receiving possession. He himself could still do it at the age of 40, so why couldn’t the Arsenal right-back in the prime of his career?
So it will be interesting to see how John Terry preforms as a coach rather than a player. Terry was a great captain. You don’t win five league titles and 78 England caps without being an exceptional leader. But are those skills transferrable?
It would be foolish to suggest that the England defender couldn’t help organise set-piece routines. Furthermore, his sheer dedication to defending must prove useful when coaching relative youngster Axel Tuanzebe on the intricacies of leading a line.
However, questions remain as to whether Terry can successfully impart this knowledge on players who do not have the talent that he had.
Yet it could be argued that few players have successfully adapted their game in the manner Terry has. The England defender went from being a full-blooded, last ditch defender who relied on his power and pace to becoming a more nuanced organiser at the back. When his legs had gone, Terry’s brain was tasked with the more strenuous work.
Terry, of course, had the benefit of excellent coaching throughout his career. But changing one’s style of play is not easy. You need to retrain your instincts. Learn to react in a different way. Teach yourself to deal with pressure instantaneously. Many players have tried and failed. So in one respect, Terry already has some coaching experience.
Furthermore, he is one of a select few who has respected the challenge of Championship football. Some may argue that Terry obviously got paid a great deal of money for his one season at Aston Villa.
But many other internationals have chosen to ply their trade in a league far less competitive and with a far healthier wage packet. As a result, he now has a greater understanding of the league and its complexities.
With his former Chelsea compatriot excelling at Derby in his first year in charge, there is little reason to doubt that Terry with his wealth of experience can’t become a successful manager in his own rite.
“John is one of the most decorated players in English football, has an affinity with the club and is ready to make the next step in his career working alongside Dean.”
Dean Smith might be the man taking charge at Villa but the presence of Terry at his side might prove to be the winning formula.