Petr Cech rates Steve Clarke so highly that he was surprised Liverpool did not appoint him as manager when Kenny Dalglish was sacked.
Clarke's high-flying West Brom side will face Chelsea on Saturday for the first time since the Scot took up his first job in management this summer. He had spent 14 years as a coach before moving to the Hawthorns - a significant portion of which came at Chelsea, where he was assistant manager to Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant.
After leaving the Blues, Clarke had coaching roles at West Ham and Liverpool, where he remained until Dalglish was fired at the end of last season. "I was surprised that it took so long before he actually got (a job in management) because I would have thought that he might have got his chance at Liverpool," the Chelsea goalkeeper said.
West Brom have surpassed all expectations so far this season under Clarke. With 11 games gone the Baggies are fifth in the Barclays Premier League. Should they beat Chelsea at the Hawthorns, where they have dropped just two points this year, they will move within one point of the big-spending Blues.
Cech has been delighted with how things are going for the new Baggies boss.
"I think he has been doing really well," Cech said. "I know he's been waiting for his chance quite a long time. He was always an important first-team coach while he was at Liverpool, and then obviously when he was with us.
"Now he has his chance to be manager, to do something with the team the way he wants to do it - his way. And he's been doing really well. That's great to see because I think as I know him he's always been working very hard to get a chance and I am pleased for him to have such a great start."
Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo is expected to reveal how long he will be without the services of John Terry.
Terry injured his knee in a tackle with Luis Suarez last Sunday and looked set for a long-term lay-off, but Chelsea revealed earlier this week that their captain would be out for "weeks rather than months."
The London club have since carried out tests on the 31-year-old's right leg to determine precisely how long he will be out for and Di Matteo will give an update on the player's condition at his weekly press conference on Friday afternoon.