Smith insists it was his call to appoint Terry as Villa assistant

Smith will work with Terry and Richard O’Kelly at Villa Park.
By Nick Mashiter, | 3mo

New Aston Villa boss Dean Smith insisted it was his call for John Terry to return to the club as assistant manager as he ruled out a playing comeback for the ex-England skipper.

The 47-year-old held talks with with Terry over Facetime last week before the former Chelsea captain was appointed.

Richard O’Kelly has also followed Smith from Brentford as assistant head coach.

Terry was tipped to join as Thierry Henry’s assistant before Smith’s appointment but despite Villa’s desire to have Terry back Smith said it was ultimately his decision.

“I was told there was an opportunity to take John and 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,” said Smith, who has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal after joining from Brentford.

“That’s what we did. Me and John spoke about it and decided it was right. If it wasn’t we both could have said no but I felt it was a win-win for both of us. It was my decision to bring John in, yes.

“It was probably an hour of Facetime meet. He was warming up for a pro-am golf event and he probably wanted it to be a bit quicker. But to be fair we both had really good questions that we wanted to ask.

“He’ll be the first to admit he was nervous this morning. You’re going in front of people who you were once in the dressing room with, having banter with, and getting involved in coaching them and trying to improve them.”

Terry – who won five Premier League titles with Chelsea – made 36 appearances for Villa last season as they lost the Sky Bet Championship play-off final to Fulham in May.

He announced his retirement earlier this month to focus on a coaching career having aborted a move to Spartak Moscow.

Terry took part of training for the first time on Monday and Smith believes he will not be tempted to return as a player.

He said: “No, I think he made it very clear to everybody last week that he was hanging up his boots and retiring. This is now his apprenticeship into coaching. He’s going to get the hours in with us.

“I’m quite flattered he’s chosen to work us and Richard, to get those coaching hours in and learn what we do. He had his pencil case with him this morning and sat in the office at 7.30am. He’ll be there tonight and earn his rest.”

Smith a boyhood Villa fan and joins with the club 15th in the Sky Bet Championship ahead of Saturday’s visit of Swansea.

He added: “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. That’s what we want to bring to the football club.”



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