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Leicester hires Steve Cooper as manager ahead of Premier League return

LEICESTER, England (AP) — Steve Cooper is making his managerial return in the English Premier League at Leicester.

The promoted club announced the hiring of Cooper on Thursday on a contract until 2027, six months after he was fired by Nottingham Forest.

Cooper replaces Enzo Maresca, who was hired by Chelsea this month after just one year at Leicester — during which he got the club promoted as second-tier champion.

Cooper has been biding his time to get back into work following an emotional exit from Forest, having got the team back into the top flight for the first time in 23 years and then kept it there.

The Leicester job will not be without its challenges. The Foxes have a possible points deduction hanging over them and may also need to sell players to comply with the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

Cooper’s tenure will begin with a home game against Tottenham, which was also the opponent for his final game in charge of Forest. He will return to the City Ground in May.

“I am very proud to be joining a club with a rich history,” he wrote in an open letter to Leicester’s fans. “I congratulate the players and staff on the achievements of their promotion to the Premier League. I know how hard that is.

“Any person who loves football can only look with great respect upon how much this club has achieved in recent years. (Winning) the Premier League title of 2016 and the FA Cup of 2021 have demonstrated what’s possible for a united club. As the new manager, I don’t take that legacy lightly. My job will be to build on those achievements."

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

The Associated Press