John Terry proved to be a major hit at Aston Villa last season in his final campaign before his retirement, and was a major favourite of Steve Bruce’s.
In May 2018, the Telegraph reported as Bruce praised the towering centre half for his influence on the dressing room as Villa narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Premier League via the play-offs.
Bruce said: “He was brilliant, but it wasn’t just on the pitch I needed him. It was to deal with the dressing room and it has been toxic, at Aston Villa, for years.
“It was important that people like Jack Grealish saw someone: this is how you do it. The way you look after yourself, this is what you prepare for.”
And Terry of course returned to the club this season to be Dean Smith’s assistant as Bruce’s regime took Villa too far down the table.
His defensive expertise in theory provided a strong counter-balance to Smith’s ability to get his sides playing flowing football, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Smith has improved the playing style, but Villa remain incredibly poor defensively. They’ve let in 52 goals all season and the most of any side in England at home – so Terry’s defensive nous isn’t getting through.
His influence has not been as strong as last year, and that must be a source of disappointment for Villa, who now seem to be too far off the top six, due to their awful defensive record.