Aston Villa first team coach John Terry sat down with the media this week for an in-depth reflection on the transition from his playing days to his now coaching role at the club.
Given the way that our form has plummeted in recent weeks and we’ve lost that original spark that we saw from the team when head coach Dean Smith first walked through the door, one part of his interview with Sky Sports caught my attention.
Discussing his own playing days as the instructions he received when learning the curve, he acknowledged the way the game had changed, now almost requiring centre-halves to be ball players and not just hoofers and he picked out on loan Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings as an example of what Smith is now trying to drill into players at the club.
“We didn’t get too much coaching, individually or collectively, back in the 90s and early 00s. It was pretty much: ‘Don’t get it off the goalkeeper, squeeze up, go and compete, go and fight for it.’ Now the game has moved in a completely different direction and teams look to play with their defenders. Tyrone is certainly one of those players comfortable on the ball, and we want them all to be comfortable. Once the defender receives it from the goalkeeper, he has to have pictures and patterns in his head, and the entire group has to understand as well. It’s about getting as high up the pitch as possible from his pass, with the least risk. That’s what we’re trying to work on as a group.”
That’s certainly what we’ve seen from Mings as he brings it out and for many, he is the better option at the back to do that compared to others we have on our books, but given the recent debates about playing style, I imagine although some fans will be pleased to hear there’s a specific style now be implemented, others will question why the style doesn’t necessarily suit the players we have at this moment in time.
With many believing that patience is necessary until we can have the summer exodus and let Smith rebuild the team to suit his vision, it’s certainly going to be an interesting time.