Two years ago, John Terry was barely playing and Chelsea were nowhere close to the Premier League. The captain had suffered fiercely under Andre Villas-Boas' system, and a combination of injury and lack of form hurt him the next year as well. With Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole still going strong, it seemed as though it would be Terry who'd be the first of the English core out of the door.
And now he's the only one left, and has just signed a new contract to boot. Naturally, he's credited Jose Mourinho with much of the turnaround.
The honesty that he had with me when he first took over, basically: 'play well and stay in the team. If not there will be other players that will come in and step in.' He just demands that from everyone on a daily basis. He's doing everything right at the moment. We're top of the league and everyone's hungry.
This shouldn't be taken merely as a Terry/Jose fluff piece, because Terry's turnaround under Mourinho speaks to a much deeper truth as well -- players are almost entirely creatures of context, and greatness depends on the situations in which they're placed just as much as it does their talent and hard work.
Villas-Boas exposed Terry who was then one of the worst defenders in the top half, Mourinho protects him, and he's the best. Obviously, they're the same player, but that they seem so drastically different (and this isn't the case just for centre halves but across the whole pitch), it's a good warning that not everything is as straightforward as it sometimes looks.