Opinion: Why Dean Smith must be admired
Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

Dean Smith won the Aston Villa's head coach role after stunning chief executive Christian Purslow in his interview. Brentford were payed a handsome compensation for their loss, but 'Deano' is a coach who has worked his way from the bottom, developing youngsters at Walsall and Leyton Oreint before landing his dream job.

Liverpool's own youngsters were on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss at Villa Park, as Smith's Villa reached a League Cup semi final for only a third time this millennium for a club who boasts such a proud history in the competition.

Though whilst such advances haven't been celebrated on too many occasions since lifting the trophy for a fifth time in 1996, Smith chose to commemorate rather than celebrate a win over a courageous and valiant bunch of talented youngsters that he personally sorrowed for.

Without embarrassment, Liverpool's U23 side were beaten by a Premier League squad littered with eight fully fledged internationals on the night.

Smith, as ever, win, lose or draw, would shake the hand of every player and match official under the Villa Park tunnel - but this time he went a step further to warm the hearts of his counterparts in battle.

John Terry accompanied Smith in breaching enemy lines to commend the Liverpool changing room after the game, praising the young team for their performance and wishing them all the best for the future.

It was a subtle touch of class that will no doubt serve well a group of players that promise so much if guided and treated with respect in an environment that breeds player development - a setting Smith knows well.

After serving Leyton Orient as a youth coach in 2005, the man in the opposing dugout on the night was Neil Critchley.

He too spoke highly of Smith's character to Sky Sports

"I've got to say that the conduct of the Villa players all night was first class - the way they played the game and the way they looked after our boys. For Dean and JT to come in and say the things they did to that group of players in there.

"They just said how difficult they made it for them and that we'd got some really good players, to keep going and good luck. They wished us all the best for the future, and it will be a moment I remember and the players remember for the rest of their lives, I think."

Smith credited the young Reds when speaking to Eurosport.

He said: "We had to be very professional.

"It was a bit of a weird game, probably the weirdest one I’ve been involved in for a quarter-final of a major competition.

"They had technically gifted players, were tactically switched on and they made it very difficult for us at times."

Smith attained his UEFA Pro Licence in 2008, alongside classmates such as Roy Keane, Brendan Rodgers, and Ian McParland. Having learned his trade with household names, current and past, Smith deservedly leads his boyhood club in the Premier League.

He currently rubs shoulders amongst the likes of George Ramsay and Graham Taylor in terms of the club's highest winning ratios. For what that's worth, he also set the club a new record of ten wins in a row before gaining Championship promotion through the notoriously tricky playoffs last season.

One of the few English managers pitting their wits against the best, Smith must be credited for more than promotion to the Premier League. Setting the foundations at Brentford for a brand new, exciting chapter in west London, all after developing players which remains one of the hardest requirements in management.

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