Aston Villa’s new head coach, Dean Smith, has revealed he gave the appointment of John Terry his full backing after an hour-long chat on FaceTime.
Smith has confirmed it was his decision to include Terry, the former Chelsea and Villa captain, on his backroom staff and insists it will be a “good fit” as he attempts to mount a promotion challenge at the Championship club.
Terry was a player last season at Villa Park, quickly establishing himself as a powerful presence in the dressing room, and the club were keen to offer the legendary defender a senior coaching role.
But Smith was given the final say on appointing the 37 year-old, who is taking his first steps on the long road towards becoming a manager.
“When I discussed the role I said if I speak to John I think we can both come up with good enough honest answers to see if we both want to move on with it or not,” he said.
“We decided it was right and I felt it was win-win. We had a good discussion and got the answers we both wanted.
“John is very humble and he’s a willing learner. He was in bright and early at 7.30am with his pencil case at the ready.
“I’m quite flattered that he’s chosen to work with us to get his coaching hours in. I have no doubts John Terry will be a fantastic coach and go on to be a fantastic manager but he’s well aware that this is his apprenticeship.”
Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract and admitted it will be a “life-changing” career move after leaving Brentford.
He lived four miles away from Villa Park in Great Barr as a child while his father was also a matchday steward for 25 years.
Smith’s style of football, primarily attacking possession-based, will also appeal to Villa fans who became fed up with his predecessor Steve Bruce’s tactics.
"I wouldn't expect to have a honeymoon period. I've been a supporter and you want to be entertained and watching players who will work hard for the shirt,” he said.
"Lots of clubs have philosophies that change from manager to manager and I feel that this is an opportunity now to develop an Aston Villa way.
"Obviously I grew up not far down the road from here, so I think a lot of the local people are really pleased a local lad is sat in this seat.
"I try to remind them that I've actually earned this seat - I've done my apprenticeship and I'm looking forward to it.
"I think I handle the expectation and stress quite well - a lot of my friends have already said I've been quite steady throughout this process and it's friends and family who've been emotional."
Villa’s new chief executive, Christian Purslow, has said that funds will be made available for Smith in the January transfer window.
It is understood Smith will target a centre-half and a left-back, despite fears over punishment from the English Football League for breaching rules on spending.
Purslow said: "We're highly respectful of the rules and of course are navigating within those rules.
"It changes nothing - we are determined to back our new management team in improving this squad.”