Dean Smith is poised to be announced as the new Norwich manager in the next few days, with his second in command looking likely to be former Aston Villa assistant manager, Craig Shakespeare.
Shakespeare is predicted to be announced as the assistant manager at Carrow Road alongside Smith, with the duo working together at Aston Villa to secure an 11th place finish in the Premier League last season.
Both Smith and Shakespeare were sacked last week after five losses on the bounce in charge of the Villa side. Speaking in a statement, Smith shared his thoughts after the dismissal from his boyhood club;
“My belief was that we would continue our progression this season. I understand the football industry and, of course, I respect the owners’ decision, but I felt that with important players soon returning to full fitness we would achieve a top-half finish.”
Steven Gerrard has since been appointed as the 50-year-old’s successor at Aston Villa.
Shakespeare has an impressive CV, his most notable achievement would undoubtedly be the role he played in the Premier League winning team of Leicester City in 2013, which then saw the assistant manager promoted to head coach for 8 months. It’s that spell, coupled with his expertise of keeping Villa in the division last term, that explains why he could help save Norwich this term too.
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Speaking on his time as head coach at Leicester in 2017, Shakespeare talked about dealing with the media; “That was the thing I found most difficult. I had always been a guy who was behind the scenes, low profile, and liked it that way. The media — the intensity of it, the amount of time it takes up — really took me by surprise. I’ll do what I have to do, media-wise, but I also like the idea of getting on with my job and letting the big managers be to the fore.”
Getting on with the job, as the coach says, will be vitally important when he arrives in Norfolk, but he can live up to the praise of Jamie Carragher, he could be game-changing upon his entrance to Carrow Road, particularly from a defensive point of view.
The former Liverpool defender previously sung the praises of the 58-year-old coach, however, giving him ‘top marks’ after joining Aston Villa last season, the pundit said;
“Craig Shakespeare has also come in so it’s been top marks from a coaching setup and, also, when you bring players in and get the signings right. So, going from the worst (defensive record) in Europe to the best in Europe, I think that’s what we’ve been seeing.”
The Aston Villa coaching alumni have a challenge on their hands when it comes to the project at Norwich City and it won’t be easy to prevent relegation. The Canaries have just one win from eleven and currently sit at the bottom of the Premier League table with only five points from a potential 33, five points adrift from safety.
That said, Shakespeare and Smith certainly have the credentials, experience and resources in hungry young players like Todd Cantwell and Billy Gilmour at Norwich, to give the relegation battle a good shot and if appointed, will host Southampton at Carrow Road this weekend.