Chelsea captain John Terry is showing all the qualities of a future manager, the club’s interim boss Guus Hiddink said on Friday.
Terry, 35, is keen to continue his playing career at Stamford Bridge but has not yet been offered a new contract for next season.
Hiddink said the decision was not down to him, but in the longer term he could see the former England central defender as a manager.
“In some players you see while they are playing there might be managers inside them already,” the Dutchman told a news conference.
“You see that most of the time in midfield positions or centre-backs. These guys are already leaders.
“In my career I’ve had some examples like (Southampton’s) Ronald Koeman in my first spell at Eindhoven, who you could see was tactically very strong and a leader.
“And (Watford’s) Quique Sanchez Flores at Valencia too.”
Terry would need “extra courses” and would be well advised to start as an assistant, Hiddink added.
“Some players think they can do it overnight but I doubt that.”
Hiddink, who is leaving Chelsea at the end of the season, hinted that he might experiment with different players in his remaining eight Premier League matches, starting at Aston Villa on Saturday.
With striker Diego Costa now banned for an additional game, that could mean a belated debut for Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato, who joined Chelsea in January on loan from Corinthians.
“His fitness has improved,” Hiddink said.
“He has worked very hard during the international break.
“To be honest there is not much to win for Chelsea any more. I don’t give any player a guarantee but there might be some time for experiments.”
Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard is still not fit and there will be fitness checks on Oscar, Willian and Bertrand Traore who faced long journeys back from international matches.
Hiddink believes bottom-of-the-table Villa will be keen to impress Villa’s caretaker manager Eric Black after Remi Garde was sacked this week.
“When there is a change there is automatically a reaction. We can expect an entertaining game,” he added.