John Terry has hailed the "brilliant" impact of Brendan Rodgers when the Liverpool manager was a coach at Chelsea. Terry's side play at Anfield this Sunday, reuniting the club captain with the man who was youth coach and reserve-team coach at Chelsea between 2004 and 2008.
"I know Brendan very well," Terry said of Rodgers. "He is a great manager and was brilliant for me and the other players. I can only speak highly of him."
The defender said that Rodgers, who managed Watford, Reading and Swansea City before getting the Liverpool job last year, had learned much from Jose Mourinho and was an excellent motivator, who made a compilation tape to encourage Terry if he was not playing.
"There were many ways he helped me," Terry said. "When Jose was there he was always around. A couple of times I was left out of the side or injured and he'd pull me to one side. He did a nice little video of me scoring goals, making tackles and had a 15 to 20 minute chat with me. At the time it was something nobody had ever done and it just goes to show his man-management and how well he's doing and how well he'll do in the future."
"It's little things like that which really gives you a boost when you're down. He was a real gentleman."
When asked whether he always thought Rodgers would go on to club management, Terry was clear. "100 per cent. He was around quite a lot, fed off Jose and obviously learnt a lot from him. But you could see he had it in him to go on, his mannerisms around the players, he had a great rapport with the players at the training ground on a daily basis. He speaks a different language too which is an added bonus."
Terry said that a Chelsea win at Anfield on Sunday was necessary in their pursuit of a top-four finish. "Champions League football is a must for the football club, for the supporters, for the club moving forward and maybe signings in the summer. We're obviously in the semi-final of the Europa League but realistically we want to be playing Champions League football. That's where it is for this football club and the players who have come here in the last couple of years, that's what they want as well."
One of the stars of Chelsea's season has been David Luiz, and Terry was full of praise for the Brazilian centre-back who put Chelsea ahead from 40 yards on Wednesday. "He has done incredibly well this year because he has stepped into midfield and been pulled back in certain games. It must be difficult for a player to be pulled left, right and centre. He is capable of doing it.
"The Fulham game just goes to show what ability he has, not just the goal, but five minutes after that he stepped into midfield and put Fernando [Torres] through with his left foot with a 40-yard ball. He is still learning, still very young but will be a very, very good player."