Dean Smith interview: Aston Villa manager reveals the inventive ways he’ll create a team of leaders in John Terry’s mould


DEAN SMITH will look to create a team of leaders at Aston Villa.

The boyhood Villa fan has landed his dream job and wants the players to match the passion on the terraces.

Dean Smith has left Brentford to succeed Steve Bruce as Aston Villa’s new boss
Arfa Griffiths – The Sun

Smith will also tell EVERY member of the squad to stand up and be counted.

The former Walsall, Hereford, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale centre-back sat down with SunSport to give an insight into his managerial techniques.

Smith, who quit Brentford on Wednesday night to take over at Villa Park, explained how he prefers to have a team of skippers, which he rotates each week, rather than one.

He said: “I was captain at every club I played for. I didn’t start at each team as a captain, I grew into the role.

Villa hope Dean Smith can bring the attacking style of play Brentford fans enjoyed
PA:Press Association
John Terry has returned to Villa Park as Dean Smith’s assistant
PA:Empics Sport

“But I wasn’t any different as a captain than when I first went into the team.

“So it got me thinking, as a manager you go through your captain all the time — but by doing that you’re missing other people who could have leadership qualities.

“The modern world is more about collective leadership and leadership groups.

“Look at rugby. They take a lot of collective responsibility — the forward pack, the backs, the lineouts, the calls.

“I want everybody involved, otherwise you’re just creating followers rather than leaders.”

With Chelsea ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’ John Terry on board as his No 2, Smith certainly has one of football’s greatest leaders on his coaching staff to set an example.

But the idea of having a team of skippers was something he introduced at the Bees this season.

SunSport’s Justin Allen meets former Brentford boss Dean Smith
Arfa Griffiths – The Sun
Dean Smith will be able to use call upon the leadership skills of Champions League winner John Terry
Action Images – Reuters

He said: “The ones who had been captain enjoyed the responsibility.

“It got them talking more about leadership and what it means to them and what responsibilities they must take on board.”

Smith believes footballers improve more in an educational environment.

For example, he renamed the Analysis Room at Brentford, where post-match debriefs were held, as The Learning Zone.

He said: “Everyone, myself included, is still learning.

“I tell players, ‘There you go, it’s your debrief’. I get them to do it.

“It gives them the opportunity to discuss the game.

“It’s interesting to see how they think the game turned out in their eyes. Also, it takes them out of their comfort zones, as it’s always hard to talk in front of your peers.