Nigeria international Ola Aina has backed his former Chelsea teammate John Terry to be a big success at Aston Villa after being appointed assistant coach at the Championship side.
The former England captain officially announced his retirement from playing on October 7 and was unveiled at Villa three days later, where he’ll assist new head coach Dean Smith following the dismissal of Steve Bruce.
Terry, who made 32 appearances for Villa last season, spent 19 years at Chelsea, briefly overlapping with Aina before the former’s departure in 2017.
“My time has been spent playing with him at Chelsea and against him at Villa,” the Torino loanee told Goal. “With the young ones, he was always good, he would text us every now and again.
“He would give us advice and just watching him on the pitch helped. Just playing with him and then training with him every day, that was more how I got the knowledge that he gave to me.
“It might not be verbally all the time, but just watching him on the pitch and how he was,” Aina added. “Even off the pitch, watching him helped me as a young defender.”
Versatile full-back Aina, who represented the Super Eagles against Libya during the recent international break, played against Terry in the Championship while on loan at Hull City last term.
“I think he will develop defenders wherever he is,” the youngster continued. “I think all Villa’s defenders will learn a lot from him, especially the centre backs.
“I think he will bring a different type of knowledge because he has done it at every level; on the European stage, international stage and in the Premier League for so many years,” Aina noted. “Villa are really lucky to have him, especially their defenders.”
To date, Aina has made three league appearances for Chelsea, having made his first-team debut in a pre-season game against AFC Wimbledon in July 2014.
He made his competitive debut in a 3-2 EFL Cup victory over Bristol City just over two years later.
“I remember when I got a little knock on my Chelsea debut and he came on for me,” Aina continued. “It was good to come off for him, even though I didn’t like coming off, it was a good feeling to be replaced by such a legend.
“I think he wouldn’t have minded sitting out the game to see me do well, but he is a professional and he was ready to do his job. It was surreal just to come off for him.”
During his time with Chelsea, Terry won five Premier League titles, the 2012 Champions League, the 2013 Europa League and five FA Cups.
Despite these accolades, Aina remembers the influential skipper as a very down-to-earth presence around Chelsea’s Cobham training ground.
“I was 15 and it was my first time training with the first team and he was very welcoming and friendly,” Aina remembered.
“I thought it would be a thing where he is a fellow defender and not really chat to us, but he was really good and throughout the time I spent with him, he has been top notch.
“He is a top guy.”