Soccer-Leicester appoint former Forest coach Cooper as manager

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Nottingham Forest v Tottenham Hotspur - The City Ground, Nottingham, Britain - December 15, 2023 Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) -Newly-promoted Leicester City have named former Nottingham Forest coach Steve Cooper as manager on a three-year contract, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

The 44-year-old replaces Enzo Maresca, who left the club this month to join Chelsea. Maresca led Leicester straight back to the top flight as they finished top of the Championship.

"I am really excited and proud to be appointed Leicester City's first team manager. This is a fantastic club with a rich history and passionate supporters," Cooper said in a statement.

"I am excited to work with such a talented squad and I’m looking forward to the challenge of achieving our shared ambitions in the Premier League."

He was sacked by top-flight Forest in December last year.

The Welshman had joined the Midlands club in September 2021 on a two-year deal when they were bottom of the Championship (second tier). Cooper led Forest to promotion the following May, winning the playoffs after finishing fourth.

He helped them avoid relegation in their first top-flight campaign since 1999 in 2022-23, but was sacked the following season despite being popular with Forest fans.

Cooper, who has also coached Swansea City, led England's under-17 team to a World Cup triumph in 2017 and took them to the final of the 2017 European Championship.

"His vision for the team, including his ability to develop players and implement a dynamic style of play, is very much aligned with our aspirations for the club," Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said in a statement.

"As a leader, he has the ability to build on the strong relationship that has been forged between our fans and our team, strengthening a bond that will be vital to us re-establishing the club in the Premier League."

Leicester begin their Premier League campaign with a home match against Tottenham Hotspur on Aug. 19.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Ken Ferris)

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