John Terry has been told by Antonio Conte he can always count Chelsea as his home as the defender prepares to bid an emotional farewell to Stamford Bridge. The Italian believes Terry is armed with the attributes to make a success of a career in management after stints under numerous experienced head coaches.
Terry’s appearance against Sunderland on Sunday will be his last at home for Chelsea, with his 22-year stint at the club to end when his contract expires next month.
The defender will join Gary Cahill in lifting the Premier League trophy after the match, the 15th piece of major silverware he has claimed over his glittering career in south-west London, with the possibility of another in the FA Cup final next Saturday.
The 36-year-old scored his 67th goal on his 716th appearance, against Watford, on Monday and Conte described the player as “a legend at this club”. “I’d always thought of him as a champion, a great player, and, for sure, John Terry is one of the best defenders in the world,” said Conte, who has given the veteran only five Premier League starts.
“But, if you ask me about the ‘human side’, I can now tell you he’s a really good person. When you are at the end of your career, it’s not easy to put yourself to one side and to think first about your team, and he did this.
“For this reason, he’s a great man before a great player. I saw every day a captain, on and off the pitch. His thought was always first for the team and afterwards for him. He helped me a lot to transfer my ideas, my concepts (on to the team). I have a great opinion about John.
“It’s not easy to leave a club where you have played for so long. I was in a similar situation with (Alessandro) Del Piero in my first season (as manager) at Juventus, when he finished playing with them.
“When you are used to having a club in your life every day, starting each day with the club in your mind, it’s not easy to start to think about this situation (being) finished. But, in his mind, it mustn’t finish. Chelsea will always be his home. Now he wants to play regularly, so it’s right for him to go and play. Chelsea will always be his ‘house’ for him.
“It’s very difficult to find players who have enjoyed this kind of career. John is a legend at this club: for the appearances he has made, the years he’s played for this club and above all for his victories with this club. A lot of titles.
It’s not easy to compare, but, for sure, Francesco Totti played for Roma all his career. The same as Del Piero. Paolo Maldini at Milan … I can tell you about these Italian players because I know them very well. But I think John is a champion and he deserves the best.”
Terry, who may not start on Sunday with Conte keen to maintain first-choice players’ form with the FA Cup final in mind, had made clear his initial intention was to extend his playing career elsewhere next season.
He will assess what offers are made for his services next month but has been studying for his coaching badges. The defender has played under nine permanent managers and various interims over his time at Chelsea, winning the Premier League three times under José Mourinho and once each under Carlo Ancelotti and now Conte.
“He can be a good manager,” said the Italian. “He has the right personality, and has great experience after working with many managers, and he has won a lot.
It’s important to start your career (in management) with this at your back. He has had so much experience with fantastic managers and will be able to mix the knowledge gained over many years working under different coaches.
“But it’s also important to have your own ideas when you start to become a manager or coach. You have to understand what is the best way for you when you finish playing football. But, if you ask me if he has the characteristics to be a good manager in the future then, yes, he has.” Source: theguardian