Craig Shakespeare exits Aston Villa with Dean Smith

Shakespeare joined in August 2020 to bring 'Premier League experience' to the staff

Shakespeare joined in August 2020 to bring 'Premier League experience' to the staff

CRAIG SHAKESPEARE has left Aston Villa along with manager Dean Smith.

The former Leicester City manager joined the club as Smith's assistant in August 2020 - having previously played with him for a brief period when they were players at Walsall in 1989.

Following Smith’s sacking today after three years in charge of his boyhood club, news emerged that Shakespeare has also gone. The future of the rest of the staff - especially goalkeeper coach Neil Cutler, who joined Smith in November 2018 - is unclear.

First-team coach Aaron Danks and Austin MacPhee arrived earlier this season, but are believed to have been club rather than manager appointments.

In announcing Smith's departure, Chief Executive Christian Purslow said: "After a good start to last season, this year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for.

"For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact. The process of replacing Dean will now begin and the club will update supporters in due course.

"When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in the Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season - a rare feat.

"The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time. Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family.

“He has represented the club with distinction and dignity - universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa - our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best."

Smith returned Villa to the top flight in 2019 and steered them to an 11th-placed finish last season. They spent almost £90m on new players in the summer, while selling star player Jack Grealish to Manchester City for a British-record £100m.

The club are currently 16th and just two points outside the bottom three in the Premier League following Friday's 1-0 defeat at Southampton. Villa Sporting Director Johan Lange, who has been with the club since July 2020, will lead the search for a new manager.

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