John Terry’s old Chelsea team-mates don’t need any convincing that he is a manager in the making.
The 36-year-old defender confirmed his desire to one day take charge of his old club when he was unveiled as Aston Villa’s new signing last week.
And his ex-Stamford Bridge colleague Nathan Ake reckons the former England captain has all the traits to succeed in management once he has hung up his boots.
Ake, who joined Bournemouth for £20million this summer, said: “There were a lot of players who helped me, who were talking to me, at Chelsea but the main ones were maybe John and Paulo Ferreira.
“JT will make a really good coach. He was already writing down what we had done in training sessions and everything just to be a manager, so he was always looking.
“It’s just the way he interacts with people, the way he likes to help young players.
“He always came over and was talking to us, saying, ‘Don’t be nervous, just play your own game’.
“And he is always in contact with you. Even when I was out on loan he was sending me text messages saying either, ‘Well played’, or ‘Keep going’, ‘Congratulations’, things like this.”
Ake spent the first half of last season on loan at Bournemouth but returned to Chelsea in January for what transpired to be his and Terry’s last six months at the club.
He added: “John was really good last season, to be fair.
“He could have been thinking, ‘Ah, I should be starting, I’m going to moan’, but he didn’t.
“He was always there, even when he was injured he would travel and be in the changing room doing speeches, or making everyone lively before games, just making sure people realised how important the games were, he was always involved.”
“He’s a big player and a big character — his will be big shoes to fill.”
It was the number of big players at Chelsea prevented Ake, who joined the club aged 17, from ever truly making the breakthrough.
And even though Antonio Conte recalled him after an impressive loan spell with the Cherries, he made just five more appearances for the Blues last term.
So when Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe swooped the offer of regular first-team football was too good to turn down.
Ake said: “The environment at Chelsea is good but this is the perfect club for me now in this moment.
“The club is really growing itself, the players are growing, and I feel like this is the right project for me to go in and improve myself.
“When I first broke through at Chelsea my biggest influence was Benitez.
“He really did a lot for me at the time, he helped me break through.
“And also Boudewijn Zenden — he was then assistant and he was Dutch, so I had a really good contact with him and they really helped me to be fair in training and games.
“Managers are obviously really important and I saw that last season when I was at Bournemouth, I was just growing as a player and part of that was because of this manager.”