After the start to the season that Chelsea have had, it would be easy to assume that Maurizio Sarri is on the path to greatness. The Italian has a 100% record in the Premier League, and in truth, the Blues have yet to be severely tested in the English top flight. They’re looking like title contenders, and that’s all that can be asked of them at this stage.
However, Sarri must be aware of the dangers and the perils of the Premier League. It’s a division that can be going smoothly for weeks, and then suddenly a fork in the road arrives – leading to poor results. Many of Sarri’s predecessors have ridden this wave, with the likes of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho falling victim to the might of the English top flight.
Sarri’s issue, at this point, is that he lacks the experience of that, and so when issues do arise – and they will, they always do – he doesn’t really have anyone to turn to. This is different from many managers in the past, given the presence of Steve Holland, orr in this case, the lack thereof. Holland joined the club in 2009, and he steadily rose up the ranks at the club to become one of the primary coaches in the first team.
However, he quit the club in 2017 in favour of a full-time role with England – and Chelsea have yet to replace him. Granted, Sarri has a collection of coaches that he can call on, like Chelsea icon Gianfranco Zola, but despite the former forward’s connection to the club, he still lacks the experience gained by spending recent years at Stamford Bridge.
Holland was nearly at the club for a decade, and over the years he learnt everything about it inside out. This was undeniably a huge help when things got tough for managers, not to mention the connection that he had with the players. Chelsea didn’t have any of that last year; and look how that turned out when the going got tough.
That wouldn’t be easy to replace, then, but one man that would undoubtedly fit the bill is John Terry. He has recently been linked with a move to Russia, but that’s apparently fallen off the wagon, and now he’s facing an uncertain future. Chelsea wouldn’t be able to register him, at least until January, but for the Blues – that isn’t where Terry’s usefulness lies. Indeed, perhaps a coaching role would be the ideal next step for all involved.
Bringing Terry back would no doubt get Chelsea fans on side in a broader sense, but for Maurizio Sarri, it would give so much more than that.
After all, at 37-years-old, Terry’s best days are behind him. He was great for Aston Villa last season, but he certainly showed moments of uncertainty, and inconsistent form was a problem at points. That’s through no fault of his own, of course, but there were signs that he should be thinking about hanging up his boots. He should only do so for the right opportunity, of course, but this would certainly be one. It would include a first step into coaching, it would mean a return to his old club, and it would mean that he can jump straight away into something new.
For Sarri, a move for Terry should be something that he is eager for. He has been there through the wins, through the draws, and through the losses. There have been many dark days at Chelsea over the last decade-plus, and Terry has been there throughout. That means he knows how to get out of a tight spot, and he knows how to adapt when those tough spots arrive. The Premier League is impossible to predict, but when you’ve got someone that has played in England for the best part of two decades, you’ve certainly got the best preparation.
You also only have to look at how influential Terry has been on the sidelines over the years. When you harp back to Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League campaign, he was regularly barking orders to the players; and his natural charisma and leadership would stand him in good stead for a coaching role – helping to bridge that gap even more.
Bringing back Terry would also go further than just providing that link between the club and the players. Whilst Holland’s influence was huge and Terry’s return would fill that gap, the Englishman also offers something else – tremendous match experience.
For all of his qualities as a coach, Steve Holland lacked the experience of being one of the best players of all time, whereas Terry was that and so much more for most of his career. Nobody at Chelsea has won as much for as long as Terry, and let’s not forget, the Englishman was at the centre of that for much of his career. Chelsea are a team that cannot afford to lose, and over the years, they’ve been able to win far more games than they’ve lost. However, Maurizio Sarri is conducting an overhaul of the team. Indeed, just Gary Cahill and David Luiz remain of Chelsea’s Champions League-winning squad from 2012.
That brings youthful exuberance, but it also brings a lack of experience; and the Blues have to make up for that somehow. Having the presence of Terry, then, could give the club exactly that. He’s been in the shoes of the players. Indeed, he’s stepped on the same ground, in the same dressing room, at the same training ground for years – and he knows how to make the best of it. Though he’s past his best on the field, there is no doubting the huge influence that he could have off of it.
Bringing Terry back would no doubt get Chelsea fans on-side in a broader sense, but for Maurizio Sarri, it would give so much more than that. He would be a trusted hand and a reliable figurehead for the players – and he could be a huge difference maker over the years. Let’s not forget, too, Terry has previously said how much he wants to be a Chelsea boss one day; and Sarri could be the perfect man to learn from.
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