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Wigan Athletic appoint Kolo Toure as manager

Wigan Athletic have appointed former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool defender Kolo Toure as their new manager.

The Latics have handed the 41-year-old a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Toure has been working as an assistant to Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City since January 2019. Before that, he was Rodgers’ assistant at Celtic after retiring from playing.

Wigan have been searching for a new boss since sacking Leam Richardson on November 10. They first approached Kolo’s younger brother Yaya, but he opted to stay with Tottenham Hotspur.

The club moved for Toure weeks ago, and he will now call the DW Stadium his home. He lacks managerial experience but has played under Arsene Wenger, Jurgen Klopp and Roberto Mancini.

Kevin Betsy and Ashvir Johal will join his coaching staff, while Rob Kelly will be his assistant. Former assistant James Beattie has left the club.

Toure is the first African international to manage a senior English football club following his appointment.

Wigan are currently in the Championship relegation zone, only two places off the bottom. The 118-cap Ivory Coast international has the task of helping them avoid the drop.

Wigan chief executive Malachy Brannigan said: “We are delighted that Kolo has become the new manager of Wigan Athletic Football Club, and the board are pleased that he is the man to take us forward. 

“We received a high calibre of applicants for the manager’s job in recent weeks, in a very thorough recruitment process as we looked to appoint the right person for the role. 

“From the earliest of conversations we had with Kolo, it was evident to us that he had instantly bought into the values of the club – with his enthusiasm, knowledge and immense desire to work and be part of Wigan Athletic shining throughout the process. 

“There is no doubt that this appointment is an exciting one for the football club. Kolo is a manager who wants to play a positive brand of football and will strive every day to make the club stronger. 

“The work starts immediately with the first team squad, as the season is just a couple of weeks away from restarting. 

“As a board of directors, we look forward to working closely with Kolo and his team as the work begins collectively to establish Wigan Athletic as a Championship club. 

“I am sure that all Latics supporters will get behind the appointment of Kolo Touré, give their backing to the staff and the players, as the football club begins a new, exciting era – starting at Millwall on December 10.”

Toure added: “I would like to thank all of the fans, players and staff of Leicester City Football Club, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, Susan Whelan, Jon Rudkin and of course Brendan Rodgers for making me feel so welcome for so many years. 

“The experiences that I have amassed under Brendan Rodgers have been invaluable. I’m sure they will help me in this next chapter of my career. 

“I am extremely proud to be named manager of Wigan Athletic. Wigan Athletic is a big club with hugely passionate fans. Together, we can continue to make the right steps forward. 

“I’m excited to work with this talented group of players and staff, and immensely look forward to my time ahead.”

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