Dean Smith has been appointed as the new manager of Leicester until the end of the season, the Premier League club has confirmed. The former Aston Villa boss, who has been out of work since leaving Norwich in December, will be joined on his coaching staff by former Foxes boss Craig Shakespeare and Chelsea legend John Terry. Smith’s main task will be to steer Leicester away from the relegation zone, as they have lost both of their matches since Brendan Rodgers left, meaning they are second bottom, but only two points from safety.
Smith, who will take training for the first time on Tuesday, said on the club’s official website: “I’m really happy to have the opportunity to lead the team during these final weeks of the season. The challenge in front of us is clear, but it’s one myself and my coaching team have experienced before and, with the quality in this squad and the number of games remaining, it’s very much achievable. Our first job is to rebuild confidence and instil belief in the team and I’m looking forward to getting to work with the players this week.”
Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha added: “His leadership, coaching and motivational qualities will be vital assets for us in the coming eight games as we fight to secure our Premier League status. We’ve endured a challenging season, but I have no doubt that we have the quality in our squad to win this fight. Dean’s experience will be key to unlocking that potential, helping the team rediscover its confidence and channelling the support of our fans, who will be so important during these final eight games.”
Leicester turned to the 52-year-old having seen a move for former Leeds boss Jesse Marsch collapse over the weekend. Smith was able to keep Villa up in their first season back in the Premier League and did so in similar circumstances over a short period of time when the 2019/20 season resumed after the coronavirus lockdown. Smith and Shakespeare worked together at Carrow Road and Villa, while Shakespeare had a brief spell as manager at the King Power Stadium in 2017, having been assistant to Claudio Ranieri when the Foxes won a stunning Premier League title in 2016. Meanwhile, Terry was part of Smith’s backroom staff at Villa.
Smith’s first match in charge of Leicester sees them take on reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday. The Foxes will be hoping to turn their fortunes around under their new manager and climb out of the relegation zone before the end of the season. With Smith’s experience and the quality in their squad, Leicester will be looking to secure their Premier League status and end the season on a high.