LONDON • Beware, Antonio Conte. The Chelsea manager may be in talks with owner Roman Abramovich over a contract extension, but John Terry is already eyeing the Italian's job when his playing days are finally over.
The club legend has said that he wants to manage his beloved Chelsea one day and will seek to learn from Steve Bruce, the Aston Villa manager, as they try to lift the team back into the Premier League.
The defender on Monday signed a one-year deal with a year's option at Villa Park.
Now 36 and after 22 years at Stamford Bridge, Terry relishes this chance with Villa and although the focus is on playing, management will be his next step.
Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox
"Listen, I want to be a manager," he said.
"I've got too much to give. Even when (Jose) Mourinho first came to Chelsea, I kept an open book during pre-season, writing down the session, so I'll be looking at that as well."
It was done all with the aim of becoming the Chelsea manager one day.
"I don't think you can ever dream too big. I've always wanted to be the very best, and if that's in management, then Chelsea's the one. In an ideal world, that would be incredible. I've had a rapport with the fans which will never go away," Terry added.
"But I do realise you can't go in at somewhere like Chelsea as your first job. You need to go and learn, whether that's in the academy like Stevie (Gerrard at Liverpool) is doing."
Television will not tempt him away, as it has Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.
"They're too good at it so no one else has a chance. Management, I really want to give a go, with a little bit of TV because that keeps you in the shop window. There will be opportunities next season with me as well - Champions League with Chelsea - to dip my toe in," he said.
Despite all the talk of plans after his retirement, Terry is, however, still driven on the pitch.
"Every single day on holiday in Portugal, I was out running, in the gym in the afternoons. You go up to the pitch or the gym, you see players from other clubs and think, 'I need to be in there'," he said.
"There were a lot of emotions over the summer, so it took two or three weeks (to decide on Villa). I pretty much wasn't sleeping. Steve sent me constant texting reminders saying that he wants me."
Terry will have a heavily incentivised package starting at roughly £60,000 (S$107,000) a week - plus huge incentives to be paid if Villa win promotion.
He will wear the No. 26 jersey and says that he is happy for James Chester to keep the armband.
But where would helping Villa back into the Premier League rank in his career achievements?
"I'd be lying if I said it was up there," Terry replied.
"When you put Champions Leagues, FA Cups, Premier Leagues, it's difficult. But it would be a fantastic achievement. I'm not one of those players at the end of his career looking for a payday."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN