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Smith set to land Norwich role a week after Villa exit

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Dean Smith. Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Dean Smith. Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Dean Smith. Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Dean Smith will be confirmed as the new head coach of Norwich City today, completing a swift return to the Premier League, a week after being sacked by Aston Villa.

Norwich put the finishing touches to the appointment over the weekend and have agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Smith, who will take Craig Shakespeare, a former England coach and his assistant at Villa, to Carrow Road to join his backroom team.

Smith, 50, is in New York visiting his son, Jamie, and is expected to fly back to England tomorrow before taking training for the first time the following day. He quickly emerged as Norwich’s first choice to succeed Daniel Farke, who was sacked last weekend, and the club’s hierarchy have been impressed by his vision for the future during talks.

Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was also interviewed, but Smith’s vast managerial experience, promotion with Villa and reputation for building clubs appealed to Stuart Webber, the Norwich sporting director.

He is also comfortable operating within the Norwich infrastructure, after working in a similar set-up at Brentford.

It was initially unclear whether Smith would prefer to take a break after his three-year tenure with Villa was brought to an end.

But he is relishing the prospect of reviving Norwich’s season, after a difficult start to the campaign for last year’s Championship winners.

Farke suffered eight league defeats, including a 7-0 thrashing at Chelsea and a 5-0 battering at Manchester City, and was dismissed shortly after the 2-1 win at Brentford, Norwich’s first victory at this level since February 2020.

Smith’s first game will be on Saturday against Southampton, the team who beat Villa 1-0 on November 5 to seal his departure.

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