Tammy Abraham has backed old friend John Terry to help galvanise Aston Villa and admitted they had lost their identity.
The on-loan Chelsea striker knows Terry from their time at Stamford Bridge.
Terry has been appointed joint assistant head coach – along with Richard O’Kelly – to new boss Dean Smith at Villa Park.
The former England captain played for Villa last season, as they lost the Sky Bet Championship play-off final to Fulham, and announced his retirement earlier this month with Abraham confident of his abilities in the dugout.
Abraham told Press Association Sport: “Everyone sees him as a leader, he was a great captain and great player. The way he was on and off the pitch, he was always a leader. A lot of players will look up to him.
“Hopefully one day we’ll be seeing him as a first-team manager. He’s got all the qualities to become one.
“He was always so calm and relaxed, he would always encourage but you’d never see him angry. I’d like to see how he is as a manager too!
“When he retired I sent him a nice message and said congrats on retirement and that was the last time we spoke. The next thing I know he’s the assistant manager.
“Even with Chelsea, when I went up to the first team he always welcomed me and took me under his arm.
“I’ve been close to him ever since, before the start of the season he called me and spoke to me about Villa.
“He said how much he enjoyed it and said it would be a good club for me. Now we’re working together, it’s a funny thing.”
Villa have won just once in their last 11 games in all competitions with Smith’s first match at home to Swansea on Saturday.
Boyhood Villa fan Smith signed a two-and-a-half-year deal after arriving from Brentford last week, replacing the sacked Steve Bruce.
Villa are 15th in the Sky Bet Championship and Abraham, preparing for England Under-21s’ final Euro 2019 qualifier in Scotland on Tuesday, feels Smith’s appointment will help stamp a personality on the team.
“I was speaking to Ezri (Konsa) and he said Dean is a great manager, likes to play football, and that’s exactly what Aston Villa need,” said the 21-year-old, who has scored three times this season.
“We have a great team, we just need that confidence and style of play back which I thought we were lacking a bit.
“It’s about them finding a style of play, the team are fantastic players but it just felt like there was something lacking, we don’t know what it was. Hopefully the new manager can bring a change to the team.”