John Terry has been advised to play on for as long as possible as his Chelsea exit nears.
The 35-year-old captain revealed in January he would be leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the season after a failure to agree a new contract.
Chelsea maintain Terry could yet be offered a one-year extension, the policy for players over 30, but the defender could yet accept a lucrative offer from Major League Soccer, China or the Middle East.
Blues caretaker boss Guus Hiddink says Terry should continue to play for as long as he can before turning to management, if that is his chosen career direction.
“If you love the game — and he loves the game — play as long as possible,” Hiddink said ahead of today’s visit to Aston Villa.
“Being a manager is okay, but it’s more or less a substitute for being a player.
“So try to play as long as possible until they say: ‘Hey, grandfather, please leave the pitch now’.”
Should Terry wish to become a manager, Hiddink’s advice would be to work as an assistant “in the shadows”.
Here’s a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis
The Dutchman, who has had a long, distinguished and well-travelled career, added: “You have to get your (coaching) licence, but if you have that I would recommend going a bit in the shadows and try to get with a good manager.
“Be an assistant if you have the ambition to be one day a manager, go with good managers and learn from them.”
Diego Costa misses today’s game game through suspension and will also miss next week’s visit to Swansea after he was given an additional one-match ban, fined £20,000 (€25,000) and warned over his future conduct by the FA after admitting a charge of improper conduct following his dismissal at Everton last month.
And Hiddink hinted at further changes: “There’s not much to win for Chelsea anymore. There might be some time for experiments.”
Gabriel Agbonlahor will not feature as managerless Aston Villa carry out an investigation into the striker’s conduct during a recent holiday in Dubai.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved