Chelsea’s new head coach Antonio Conte will want to keep captain John Terry due to his experience, Ray Wilkins has suggested.
Conte has signed a three-year deal to replace interim manager Guus Hiddink at Chelsea and will take over after leaving his current role as Italy’s national team coach after Euro 2016.
Wilkins, a former Chelsea player and coach, feels the former Juventus boss will want to learn from Terry – who has announced his intention to leave at the end of the season – about life at Stamford Bridge and is likely to try and keep the 35-year-old.
Wilkins also backed Conte’s credentials to succeed in the job as the club look to recover from a disappointing 2015-16 season.
“John Terry is an exceptional player and he will be for a couple of years, whether he is at Chelsea or elsewhere,” Wilkins told Sky Sports.
“Antonio will want his experience and will want to pick his brains about what he is coming into.
“I think it’s probably the best kept secret that hasn’t been kept, that [Conte] will be coming. He’s done exceptionally well at Juventus so there is no reason to suggest he won’t do well at Chelsea.
“He’s a youthful, energetic character and there is no reason to suggest he won’t do a good job. This year they’ve had a torrid time and it’s not been pleasant to watch at times but Antonio comes in with a clean sheet.
“He’s very keen on the European scene is [club owner Roman] Abramovich but they have to compete for the Premier League too. Titles are important for a club like Chelsea – the Premier League is their bread and butter.”
Wilkins advised Conte to retain the services of Steve Holland and Eddie Newton on his coaching team when he takes the reins at Chelsea, as well as continuing to blood young talent.
“It’s a difficult situation. Steve [Holland] has done a fantastic job at Stamford Bridge, as has Eddie Newton,” Wilkins said. “It’s very important you don’t lose that stability. Holland and Newton are a big part of Chelsea.
“Chelsea have spent a lot of money on the academy and we have seen a lot of young men come into the side and I’d like to see that continue under Conte, as you never know how they will perform until they get a chance.”
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