Aston Villa seem set to make a quick managerial appointment, with two favourites for the role joining the Villa.
According to SportsMail, Thierry Henry has left a positive impression on Aston Villa’s ownership after his application led to a successful interview. That’s not all though, former Villa captain, John Terry also applied for the role. At this point in time, it is believed that John Terry will lead Henry’s backroom staff as assistant manager while Henry takes the main job. While the Daily Mail have led with this exclusive, no hire has been made or announced by the club.
All-in-all, it seems a wild, risky and aggressive move by Aston Villa’s CEO - Christian Purslow, who seemed to have his pick of candidates - ranging from Paulo Sousa, to Brendan Rodgers, to Dwight Yorke. Selecting Henry after this process can lead us to speculate that the Frenchman put an extremely good case forward despite his lack of experience.
It should be said that a few ‘exciting’ candidates for the role would be risks. Paulo Sousa collapsed at Fiorentina with a decent squad beneath him. Rui Faria, an ex-Mourinho assistant, seems to explode every 3.5 games. However, AVFC and Purslow seem to have opted for the biggest risk - two leaders with no club managerial experience between them.
The hire of John Terry, arguably, is the best thing that could happen to Villa right now in this particular situation and somewhat grounds a tiny bit of the risk involved in hiring Henry. A lot of last season’s ‘success’ seems to be pinned on his shoulders. A grounded dressing room led the right way by someone beloved by the Villa squad, is something that has been missing since last season, when Terry left. SportsMail noted that Terry was ‘humble’ in his interview with AVFC, and was uneasy about taking the lead role following Steve Bruce’s sacking. The paper also stated that Terry could play on at Villa. We’ll see, but that’d be a good addition to a team lacking any central defender, at all, apart from James Chester.
Henry, on the other hand, seems to understand tactics (Gary Neville did too) - a lot more than can be said about Villa’s past few hires. He’ll have a chance to prove himself and to double down on his international credentials. If Henry can get the ball rolling at Villa he’ll likely become one of the most popular figures in Aston Villa’s history, but it’s going to be a bit tougher than that. Villa aren’t in a good place right now, despite a strong squad. There is a motivation problem, and the dressing room is reeling from the departure of Steve Bruce. What’s more, Villa have defensive fragility. Can an inexperienced manager fix that? John Terry, arguably, would go someway towards doing so. Between his jobs, he’s consulted one or two teams on their defences and how they handle set pieces. That’s something, however tiny, that we can grasp at.
The big picture is this - Aston Villa, based on this news, will hire two managers. One, with a few years as a U18 coach and an international role as assistant manager, will succeed Steve Bruce as manager. Another, with minor U18 managerial experience, will become his assistant. Without context, that is incredibly scary. With context, it’s a bit easier to take. One thing is for certain, though, Villa are heading into unknown territory that may, or may not, have an incredible upside for the club.