John Terry has departed Aston Villa after three years on Dean Smith’s backroom team

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

John Terry is preparing to take his first steps into management after departing Aston Villa.

Terry has left his role as one of Dean Smith’s assistant coaches to pursue his ambition of becoming a No 1 in the technical area, following weeks of talks with the Villa hierarchy.

The former England and Chelsea captain has been on Villa’s backroom team since October 2018, but has made no secret of his desire to emulate the likes of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney by moving into management.

Terry, 40, will now take an extended break with his family before focusing on his first job, with vacancies in the Premier League and Championship traditionally becoming available around the October international break.

He said: “It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to have spent these last three years at Aston Villa, but I feel now is the right time to make the extremely difficult decision to move on.

“I want to be as respectful to the manager and everyone at Aston Villa as I can and, having given my future serious consideration over the summer, I genuinely don’t feel it is fair to move into a new season without being certain of seeing that through.

“My immediate plan is to spend some quality time with my family and, thereafter, hopefully take up some invitations to visit clubs and managers around Europe to develop my aim and objective of becoming a manager. It has always been my ambition to move into football management and, providing the right opportunity presents itself, I feel ready to take up such a challenge.”

A Pro-License holder, Terry was considered by Derby County last season during the club’s talks with Bin Zayed International, while there has also been interest in the past from Bournemouth.

Villa have no immediate plans to replace Terry, with Smith happy to work alongside Craig Shakespeare, Richard O’Kelly and Neil Cutler for the time being.

Smith said: “I’m disappointed to lose John as part of my coaching staff but fully understand and respect his decision.

“John has played a huge role in the success the club has enjoyed over the past few years and has been very supportive of myself throughout that period. I have no doubts he will go on to be a first-class manager in his own right and wish him well for the future.”

Terry feels ready to follow in his former team-mate Lampard’s footsteps

Analysis by John Percy

Terry’s ultimate goal is to manage Chelsea and his decision to quit Villa is undoubtedly the first stage of a new chapter in his stellar career.

After the Championship play-off final win over Derby in May 2019, Terry admitted he was still wearing his “learner plates” and at the embryonic stages of his managerial journey.

Now, however, he clearly feels ready to take the next step and following in the footsteps of his former Chelsea and England team-mate Lampard seems the most sensible option.

Lampard patiently waited for the right opportunity before taking over at Derby in the Championship, and it was a season which proved invaluable for experience.

He led Derby to the play-off final, making mistakes along the way, and has since admitted that he found it crucial in developing a broad education off the field.

Terry greets then-Chelsea boss Frank Lampard on the sidelines at Stamford Bridge last year

Credit: NMC POOL

Terry perhaps needs to target a similar move to the second-tier, away from the intense glare of the Premier League, to learn the ropes.

Inevitably, there will be concerns over Terry due to some controversial moments during his playing career, and that is a hurdle he will have to overcome.

There is also an argument that he needs to rein himself in with frequent Instagram posts in support of Chelsea, despite his solid allegiance to the club.

Terry, however, has a laser focus on what happens next and, when the ‘sacking season’ starts between late September and early November, his name will inevitably be linked with posts all over the country.

Captain. Leader. Legend. Manager?