Belfast Telegraph

John Terry reveals dream of managing 'top side' at Wembley

Outgoing Chelsea captain John Terry will this week decide whether to hang up his boots or fully focus on his long-term goal of becoming a top-level manager.

After 22 years, 717 appearances and a boatload of trophies, the 36-year-old defender has brought down the curtain on his playing career with the west Londoners.

Last weekend Terry capped an extravagant farewell at Stamford Bridge by lifting the Premier League trophy, but hopes of a dream double were scotched as Arsenal secured a shock 2-1 win in Saturday's FA Cup final.

The skipper was an unused substitute for a galling defeat that is likely to be his last involvement as a player at Wembley - a stadium Terry dreams of returning to as a manager.

"I am going away, I need a good week away just to reflect," Terry said about his short-term decision on whether to play on.

"It doesn't help because it's heart-breaking, going out like that and losing. It's the last time probably at Wembley as a player.

"Hopefully one day I'll be back here as a manager, that's kind of the ambition.

"It has been difficult for me actually as a player because I've been looking to do coaching for the last year.

"Every time we get a day off, you've got a coaching session planned and then you think 'okay, I am going to spend it with the family'.

"The next thing you know the season has finished and you've kind of missed out on a few sessions and everything.

"But if I do stop or if I do carry on playing, I will press on in that regardless. I do want to be a manager.

"I think I've got too much to give and I've learned too much not to pass that on, whether that's initially to a younger generation or eventually at this level.

"Listen, this is the target: being here managing a top side."

Antonio Conte has backed Terry to become a good manager thanks to his experience and personality, but the Chelsea boss has also urged the centre-back to play on.

Swansea and West Brom are interested in signing the 36-year-old this summer, while links to Bournemouth continue.

A move to China and the United States appear other options for a player who insists he has yet to make his mind up on whether to play on or not.

"Really, honestly, I've not thought about it too much," Terry said.

"And every time I do go to think about it, you go 'we've got Arsenal', 'we've got this game coming up' and you know (it's of) massive importance as well to the football club.

"For me, just honestly, genuinely and everyone keeps asking me and no-one believes me when I say that I've not got anything sorted.

"I've got options but nothing sorted or in stone or anything like that. But it's always good to have options."

Given the defender is weighing up those options, he will not join former team-mate Frank Lampard for the A licence course at Chelsea's Cobham training ground this summer.

Terry is the last of that group of long-serving greats to depart Stamford Bridge, but believes this group can push on under Conte and mix it with the continent's best.

"I think we can push on," he said. "Listen, clearly we have to keep improving year after year.

"I've seen that as well, you can't stand still in the transfer market.

"Man City have already made one big signing, we need to act fast and I am sure the club will.

"And that's not a (message), that's just everyone - everyone needs to keep raising the bar. I am sure we'll do the same, the manager stressed that himself as well.

"But, you know, this team is a great group and seeing it from a different perspective, from my point of view, this year, certain people stand up to the plate at half-time and other big games when we've been losing.

"Really stepping into the shoes that me, Lamps, Didier, Ash, Pete have left."

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