John Terry: Dean Smith 'flattered' Aston Villa assistant wants to learn from him

Dean Smith (centre), with assistant coaches John Terry (right) and Richard O'Kelly (left)
Dean Smith (centre) and assistants John Terry (right) and Richard O'Kelly (left) were presented on Monday

New Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith says he was "flattered" that John Terry wanted to develop as a coach under him.

The former Chelsea and England captain, 37, retired from playing on 7 October, after playing for Villa last season.

Terry and Richard O'Kelly, who joined Smith at Brentford and Walsall, will both assist the ex-Bees boss at Villa.

"I can tap in to John's knowledge base, from the coaches he has played under. It is a team that will work very well together," Smith told BBC WM 95.6.

"John knows the football club and he is starting now his fledgling coaching career.

"To be honest, I was quite flattered that he wanted to work under us and develop as a coach under me as well. I'm really pleased that he has chosen to do that.

"I want people who are there to challenge me, who want to get better and improve."

Terry's role with the Championship club has been described as an "excellent fit" by chief executive Christian Purslow.

Speaking as Smith, 47, was unveiled to the media on Monday, Purslow added: "He [Terry] is going to help Dean very much in the early days to hit the ground running.

"John has familiarised himself with all aspects of the club, beyond simply the normal duties that a professional footballer would focus on.

"And I think it's tremendous that a former great footballer has taken a decision now to dedicate himself to trying to become a leading coach, and this is the first step on that long journey.

"To have somebody with his background as a player make those first steps in our great club, learning from a hugely experienced coach like Dean, felt to us like an excellent fit."

On taking charge of the club he supported as a boy, Smith - who arrived following Steve Bruce's sacking on 3 October - added: "It's a great job.

"As a kid, I wanted to play for Aston Villa, but I was never good enough and ended up in the lower leagues.

"The next best thing, you become a coach - what better than to be the head coach of the football team you supported?"

Promotion still 'a realistic aim' - Smith

Villa are 15th in the Championship after winning three of their first 12 league games, but only four points outside the play-offs.

Asked if he could guide Villa to promotion this season, Smith said: "It's a realistic aim, I believe, to get promoted this season. That has to be the aim.

"This is the most even league I've seen since I've been in it [the Championship]. At the moment, I don't see anybody who looks like they are going to run away with it.

"There's not an insurmountable gap between us and the top two or top six."

Villa, who are in their third consecutive year in the second tier following their relegation in 2016, finished 13th and fourth under Bruce, losing last season's play-off final to Fulham at Wembley.

Analysis - Smith and Terry combination 'could be win-win'

Former Villa striker Garry Thompson told BBC WM 95.6:

Smith is a progressive manager, he's young, he's hungry. He's not one of the merry-go-round managers.

The fact that it's his boyhood club makes it even sweeter for the Villa fans. His connection to the club will give him more time and Terry coming in will give him more time as well.

Terry knows the players and their characters. In a way, he will perform a very good function and he is learning the ropes too. It could be win-win.