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Yalla Shoot :Leicester confirm surprise appointment of Pep Guardiola’s assistant Enzo Maresca as new boss

Leicester City have announced Enzo Maresca as their new head coach, the Italian taking the place of Dean Smith.

Former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss Smith took over from Brendan Rodgers on an interim basis from 10 April, with eight matches remaining of the Premier League season and the Foxes inside the bottom three at the time.

He was unable to save them from the drop and Leicester’s relegation was confirmed on the final day of the season, despite beating over West Ham, and the King Power Stadium club have opted against retaining Smith as a result.

In his place comes Maresca, a 43-year-old with minimal experience as head coach so far, but who has served in two roles at Manchester City over the past few seasons, firstly leading their Elite Development Squad (EDS) for 2020/21 and winning the title that year, before returning in 2022 as assistant boss to Pep Guardiola.

Between those two year-long spells at the Etihad Stadium, Maresca took charge of Italian Serie B side Parma for 21/22 but lasted just 14 matches in charge before being dismissed.

Maresca told Leicester’s official website: “I’m very excited because of the club (I’m joining) and because we have a big season ahead of us.

“At the beginning, the target is to play in the best way we can. From there, we can build, day by day, our idea and our philosophy, and the most important thing is to try to win games.

“First of all, we’re going to give 100 per cent, absolutely, because the club deserves this. It’s our job, our duty to do that. Then, as I said, day by day, step by step, absolutely we’re going to improve.”

Enzo Maresca arrives from Man City

(PA Wire)

Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said: “Enzo brings a combination of personality, method and ambition that meets extremely well with the footballing direction we are looking to take.

“His philosophy has been built over a rich and varied career, including an outstanding education as a coach, and fits with the vision we have for this next chapter in Leicester City’s history.

“Enzo’s profile has stood out to us for some time – a feeling that was only enhanced upon meeting him and listening to his enthusiasm for the challenge ahead. I have no doubt he will be warmly welcomed by our supporters and that together we can reset the club’s course towards future success.”

During his playing days, Maresca was an enormously talented midfielder who suffered with injuries, joining West Bromwich Albion as a teenager and playing two years there before returning to his home nation with Juventus. Loan and co-ownership spells followed, most successfully with Fiorentina, before he left for Spain to spend four seasons and the bulk of his most consistent career spell with Sevilla.

A meandering last seven years or so of his career saw the former U21 international play for Olympiacos, Malaga, Sampdoria, Palermo and Hellas Verona, where he spent half a season before officially retiring.

Now taking his second role in senior management, Maresca will be charged with returning Leicester to the top flight – but faces a tricky summer ahead of their EFL Championship campaign, with a number of players linked with moves to other clubs. Harvey Barnes and James Maddison head up the list of potential exits, while Youri Tielemans has already left for Aston Villa.

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