Chelsea legend John Terry has spoken about a key lesson he learned from Dean Smith while he was his assistant at Aston Villa.
“I won’t name the player but [it was] working as an assistant at Aston Villa under Dean, who thinks about the players constantly, the lads love him and it’s obviously a shame he lost his job,” said Terry during an appearance on beIN TV.
“We were training and I wasn’t happy with one particular player. I kind of dug him out and had a one-on-one.
“I said to the gaffer ‘I’m not happy’. He said ‘OK, explain it to him’. I sat him down and basically went mad at him. I said ‘not good enough, you’re not in the team, that’s not going to get you in the team performing like that’.
“He came back, we had a little debate. I told the manager and he said ‘have you asked him about his family life?’
“It didn’t even enter my head, not at all. The next morning, I texted [him] and said ‘get in early, we’ll have a bit of breakfast’.
“It was during Covid, his family were away, he’d not seen his mum and dad, he’d just had a baby and I was like ‘wow’. I learnt so much working under Dean for those little bits.
“We ended up giving him a day off so he could spend time with his family.
“He was incredible after that, like a new player, fighting to get back in the team. Again, it’s man-management.
“You need a touch nowadays, a soft side.”