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Steve Cooper: Leicester City name former Nottingham Forest boss as new manager

Steve Cooper replaces Enzo Maresca at Leicester after club carried out thorough process of due diligence and spoke to several candidates including Graham Potter; Cooper was sacked by Nottingham Forest - Leicester's East Midlands rivals - last December

Steve Cooper
Image: Steve Cooper is the new manager of Leicester City

Leicester City have appointed former Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper as their new manager on a three-year contract.

Cooper replaces Enzo Maresca, who left to join Chelsea earlier this summer, at the King Power Stadium after the club carried out a thorough process of due diligence and spoke to several candidates including Graham Potter.

Cooper had been out of work since being sacked by Nottingham Forest - Leicester's East Midlands rivals - last December, as the club languished in 17th place in the Premier League after a run of just one win in 13 games.

Before that, the 44-year-old guided Forest back into the top flight for the first time in 23 years and then kept them there.

Leicester's opening six Premier League fixtures

  • Aug 19: Tottenham (h) - live on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football - kick-off 8pm
  • Aug 24: Fulham (a)
  • Aug 31: Aston Villa (h)
  • Sept 14: Crystal Palace (a)
  • Sept 21: Everton (h)
  • Sept 28: Arsenal (a)

Speaking to Leicester's official website, Cooper said: "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. 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."

The Leicester job will not be without its challenges for Cooper, with the Foxes facing a possible points deduction and potentially needing to sell players to comply with the Premier League's profit and sustainability rules.

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Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha added: "We are delighted to welcome Steve to Leicester City. 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.

"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."

Cooper brings plenty of experience to Leicester, having also been in charge of the England U16 and U17 international sides - winning the World Cup with the latter in 2017 - before managing Championship side Swansea City from 2019-2021.

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Speaking before confirmation of Cooper's appointment, James Savundra discusses whether the former Nottingham Forest boss is the right fit for Leicester

Carragher: Cooper needs 'serious backing'

Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher:

"I'm delighted for Steve. It's not easy when you lose your job in the Premier League to get another Premier League job. These are coveted jobs and managers from all over Europe and the world are looking to come here, so he'll be delighted to get that opportunity.

"It's a similar sort of area in terms of where Nottingham Forest are, so he knows the area well. He built up a great relationship with the Forest supporters and they were a little bit disappointed when he left.

"Hopefully for him, he can build that rapport with the Leicester fans because they might have a few problems at the start of the season.

"For Leicester to stay up, they all need to be together and Cooper will need serious backing from the board and also the supporters."

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Jamie Carragher is delighted Cooper has been appointed as Leicester's new manager but insists he'll need serious backing to keep them in the Premier League

Heskey: Cooper's aim must be to stay in the Premier League

Speaking before Cooper's appointment, Leicester legend Emile Heskey says the manager's aim for the new season is simply to stay in the Premier League amid a limited capacity to sign new players.

Speaking at the launch of Husqvarna's Victory Dance campaign, Heskey insisted the best way to achieve that would be to continue the style of football implemented by Maresca.

Heskey told Sky Sports: "Leicester have gone down the route of having someone in Maresca, who revolutionised the way that we think as a club in the sense of the way that we play.

"It would be crazy to change everything around. Even when you look at U21s, they have started to implement a lot of the fundamentals that Maresca had.

"You would like to think the next manager would take that on and keep it going and play a lot of the younger lads, because the reality is I'm not sure how much we can spend to really get that squad up to par with what is needed to stay in the league.

"We ran through the Championship pretty much easily with a bit of a blip. If we can keep Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, that would be outstanding and unbelievable, because he's really the main player.

"The aim has to be to stay in the Premier League. We have to reset and work again. Staying in the league is key and then you build from there, especially if you're not able to spend the money you need to spend to get the squad up to par.

"The reality is that squad is pretty similar to the squad that came down. Yes, in the forward line Jamie Vardy has signed again, but who else have we got? That is a key position that needs to be rectified.

"I would say defensively, the centre-back position would be important as well and then possibly a midfielder."

Leicester fixtures: Foxes start against Spurs on MNF

Leicester will start their 2024/25 Premier League season with a Monday Night Football game at home against Tottenham, live on Sky Sports on August 19.

The newly-promoted Foxes then travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in their second game before returning to the King Power Stadium to take on Aston Villa on August 31.

Their first East Midlands derby against Nottingham Forest where Cooper could face his former club comes at home on October 26, with the return game taking place at the City Ground on May 10. Their former manager Maresca is due to return to the King Power Stadium with Chelsea on November 23.

They face a tough schedule over Christmas and New Year, including a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Boxing Day and a home game against Manchester City on December 29.

After facing rivals Forest in their third-last game on May 10, they round off the campaign with a home fixture against fellow promoted club Ipswich Town on May 18 and an away game against Bournemouth on May 25.

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