John Terry’s role at Chelsea as ‘next Virgil van Dijk’ impresses amid January transfer talks

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Just 24 hours after celebrating a win over Spurs in the directors’ box at Stamford Bridge, John Terry was dressed in Chelsea training clothes and on the pitch at Kingsmeadow Stadium.

The former Blues captain stood with his arms crossed and with a ball at his feet, watching the development squad as they warmed up for their clash against Manchester City.

He played his part as the team prepared and walked back with his fellow managers to the locker room, pausing to greet his Manchester City counterparts with a customary smile.

The 41-year-old took his place in the dugout for the entire game but was a calmer figure than Chelsea fans might have expected during his tenure in the Blues first team.

Of course, Andy Myers remains the head coach of the development team while Terry has taken on a part-time consulting role within the academy. The former Aston Villa manager returned to the club earlier in January, having spent time at Cobham throughout the early stages of the season.

A statement from Chelsea read on his appointment: “John Terry is returning to Cobham to begin a coaching consultant role at Chelsea Academy.

“The Blues legend will work with our young players and our coaching staff in our youth development programme, sharing the vast experience gained during his 20-year playing career and his recent stint as an assistant coach. at Aston Villa.

“As well as providing coaching on the pitch, our former club captain will contribute to coaching discussions with colleagues, mentor academy players and support dialogue with parents.

“He will start the part-time role early next month.

“This flexibility is beneficial to both John and the academy as it allows him to continue to develop his own coaching skills alongside other commitments, whilst being used to best effect within our programme. of development.”

Terry had already been present for another Premier League 2 game against Crystal Palace, which seems to suggest that he will have a fairly active role on matchday going forward. The trip to Beckenham saw the consultant dressed in plain clothes while on his visit to Kingsmeadow Terry donned a custom kit to show how he fits into the setup.

While Terry’s role will clearly be diverse, many hope he can make a relevant impact on all emerging centre-backs given his own impressive career.

Against City Xavier Mbuyamba and Josh Brooking formed an impressive partnership in the center of defense despite James McAtee’s 60th-minute goal.

The visitors dominated possession and the pair held on to the base of the Blues back line which mostly held off the pressure as the development side, like their senior counterparts at the weekend, used a rear four.

Both trained with Chelsea’s first team this season, and the display was mature.

Mbuyamba’s performance was particularly reassuring. The Dutch defender joined the Blues from Barcelona in the summer of 2020 and had been branded as ‘the next Virgil van Dijk’. A label that did not bother the youngster.

He told NOS: “I know there’s a lot of pressure on me at Chelsea. I come from FC Barcelona, ​​people talk about me a lot and I get the stamp ‘the new Virgil van Dijk’. I show that I can handle it and be as good as they say.”

However, the 20-year-old tore his meniscus during his second Chelsea training session which meant he was out for eight months.

Mbuyamba finally made his debut for the Blues’ development squad in April 2021 and has had a slow start to the 2021/22 season.

However, the Dutchman is looking full throttle now. While at the start of the season he seemed to be caught on his heels, against Manchester City he was proactive and unafraid to pinch in front of the striker to win the ball.

Reports emerged this month that Hellas Verona wanted to loan out Mbuyamba and the way he allied himself with Brooking will have reassured all scouts of his abilities.

However, it’s hard not to wonder what else the impressive partnership could learn from Terry who is still so young in his role at the club.

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