Saturday 25 May 2019

New Villa boss Smith insists he had final say over Terry decision

Smith: New Villa boss. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire
Smith: New Villa boss. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Brendan McLoughlin

New Aston Villa manager Dean Smith insists he had the final say on John Terry's instalment as his assistant.

Smith, 47, arrives from Brentford to succeed Steve Bruce at Villa, currently 15th in the Championship, and becomes the third manager tasked with restoring the Second City club to the Premier League.

Terry, part of Bruce's side defeated in the play-off final in May, had even emerged as a possible candidate for the vacancy, yet the former England and Chelsea skipper will instead form part of Smith's backroom team in what will be his first coaching role following his retirement from playing last week.

"When I discussed the role I was told there was an opportunity to take John," the Villa manager said. "We spoke for about an hour and decided it was right. If it wasn't, we both could have said no - and I would be the head coach at Aston Villa and looking to bring someone else in.

"But I felt it was a win-win for both of us. It was my decision to bring John in."

Smith was joined by Terry, 37, for their first training session at Villa's Bodymoor Heath headquarters yesterday morning.

He is confident Terry can follow the lead of his former England team-mates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard by making the step to become a No 1. Now, though, says Smith, is the time for him to learn his new trade.

"John had his pencil case with him and sat in the office at 7.30am! He'll be there tonight and earn his rest," said Smith, who was already acquainted with Terry before Villa's move for them.

"He'll be the first to admit he was nervous. You're going in front of people who were once in the dressing-room with, having banter with, and getting involved in coaching them.

"He's got parts of that already in his make-up: we've seen that over the years as captain of his country, of one of the top teams in the country.

"I have no doubt in my mind that John Terry will be a very good coach and will probably go on to be a fantastic manager as well. He's well aware that this is his apprenticeship. If we're all successful together then I'm sure there will be people knocking on the door."

A lifelong fan - his father was a club steward for 25 years - the Brummie represents a popular appointment with Villa supporters, both due to his allegiances and playing style. He maintains, however, it was "not an emotional decision - a rational one".

"We want to develop an Aston Villa way," he continued. "It certainly won't happen overnight, but very quickly we can give players ideas and how we want to do moving forward." (© Independent News Service)

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