Who is Craig Shakespeare? The man poised to join Dean Smith at City

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith (right) and assistant Craig Shakespeare on the touchline during the P

Craig Shakespeare was assistant to Dean Smith at Aston Villa and looks set to reunite with the 50-year-old at Norwich City. - Credit: PA

Dean Smith is poised to be named as Norwich City's new head coach in the next 24-48 hours and is set to be joined by experienced coach Craig Shakespeare. 

Shakespeare will take up the role of assistant head coach at Carrow Road with the pair expected to take training for the first time this week ahead of a crucial Premier League clash against Southampton. 

Smith lost long-term assistant Richard O'Kelly and first-team coach John Terry in the summer before leaving the club leaving the club with Shakespeare last weekend. 

The pair face the daunting challenge of attempting to keep the Canaries in the Premier League. Shakespeare has a vast amount of experience at the top level, having previously held coaching roles at Leicester City, Everton, West Brom, Hull City and the England national team. 

Villa was the first time the pair had worked together professionally having played together at Walsall back in 1989. 

When Shakespeare joined Smith at Villa earlier in the summer, he spoke glowingly about their personal relationship. 

"He'd tell you he was my boot boy at Walsall and he'd tell you I never gave him a tip," Shakespeare explained. "I'm sure I did, though, and it was a big one in those days!

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"Obviously, we're from the same area of Great Barr, we've kept in touch, played together. You keep in touch with people from your area, keep an eye on their career and I'm really pleased with what he achieved at Brentford and, here, at Villa."

Shakespeare's experience will be seen as a coup for City.

Throughout various roles, he has always remained popular with players and acts as an important buffer between the players and head coach. 

Much will be made of his 'Premier League know-how', but Shakespeare insists he has plenty more to offer beyond that. 

"Premier League know-how means nothing unless you want to add to it as well, to be involved and to push, cajole people along and, sometimes, demand. It's about that. It's about winning, getting results," he told Villa's official channels back in August.

"I'm a different pair of eyes, a different thought process, tactically."

Shakespeare was made manager of Leicester in 2017, replacing Claudio Ranieri after the pair guided the Foxes to a historic Premier League title win despite being placed at 5000/1 at the beginning of the campaign. 

From being a media-shy coach, Shakespeare was thrust in front of cameras as he managed Leicester in a Champions League quarter final against Atletico Madrid. 

During that game, his formation change put Diego Simeone's team on the ropes. 

He admits that facing the press regularly and an increased level of attention was something he struggled with during his time as the front man at the King Power Stadium. 

“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," he told the Times in 2017.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (left) and assistant manager Craig Shakespeare

Craig Shakespeare has a vast amount of Premier League coaching experience, including being assistant to Claudio Ranieri at Leicester City during their title charge. - Credit: PA

After an initial uplift of results, Shakespeare struggled to get a tune out a talented Leicester side. 

His arm round the shoulder approach helped him galvanise a squad who struggled to reproduce the level of performance that saw them secure a shock title. Shakespeare became the first English manager to win his first four matches in charge.

Hands-on managers are hard to find and Shakespeare could often be seen taking the pre-match warm-up routine before games. 

Shakespeare lasted just 26 matches at the helm before being replaced by Claude Puel. 

He wasn't out of the game long, linking up with Sam Allardyce for the second time at time with Everton. Since he has re-joined Nigel Pearson at Watford before that brief spell with Villa.  

As Norwich City conduct their warm-ups prior to matches, the defining image will be of Shakespeare leading the drills with a football under his arm. 

The players will love him. He will offer much-needed support to Smith and an experience that could prove useful given their current situation in the top-flight. 

NCFC extra: Consistency, culture and coaching - Dean Smith in his own words