Wigan Athletic has confirmed that Kolo Toure will take charge of the first team as head coach. The former Ivory Coast international joined from Leicester City around February 2019, where he was operating as First Team Coach staff with Brendan Rodgers, with whom they worked together at Rangers Glasgow.
Malachy Brannigan: “We are delighted that Kolo has become the new manager of Wigan Athletic Football Club, and the Board are pleased that he believes in the vision of the Club and wants to be the man to take us forward.”
Touré arrived at the Club on a three and a half-year deal from Leicester City, where he was operating as First Team Coach as part of Brendan Rodgers’ coaching staff.
Having played under and learnt from elite managers throughout his career from the likes of Arsène Wenger, Roberto Mancini, Jürgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers – as well as years of top flight, European and International coaching experience – Touré will now focus on his own managerial career at First Team level.
Also arriving at Latics will be Kevin Betsy and Ashvir Johal, with both joining the backroom coaching staff at the Football Club that includes Rob Kelly – who has agreed to continue in his role as Assistant Manager.
All three will now fly out to Turkey to meet with the First Team, who are currently on a mid-season training camp as Kolo, the second highest capped player in Ivory Coast history, will look to hit the ground running and implement his philosophy and ideas onto the first team environment.
Starting his career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas in 1999, the former central defender had an illustrious playing career with Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Celtic FC all on his footballing resume, as well as 120 caps for his native Ivory Coast.
Touré made more than 500 senior appearances over a 15-year period, with an honours list that includes two Premier League titles – one as an Arsenal ‘Invincible’, two FA Cups, two Scottish Premiership titles, as well as success on the international stage with an African Cup of Nations back in 2015.
Betsy, a former professional footballer with over 400 senior appearances, has established himself in the world of coaching post-retirement.
Starting with Fulham, Betsy then progressed to a role within the England youth setup, operating as Head Coach at U15s, U16s, U17s and then U18s, before becoming the Head Coach of Arsenal’s U23s last season before his most recent role of manager at Crawley Town.
Ashvir joins Latics from Leicester City as an exciting, up-and-coming coach, having completed the Premier League Elite Coaching Scheme before starting his role at the Foxes.
Johal, along with Betsy, will join the Club as First Team Coach and will link up with Touré once again, having worked with him and Rodgers for several years at the King Power Stadium.
Wigan Athletic confirm that James Beattie has left the Football Club with immediate effect, with the Board thanking James for being instrumental in the Club’s promotion last season.
Touré’s first game in charge of Wigan Athletic will be away at The Den, taking on Millwall on Saturday 10 December.
Commenting on Kolo’s appointment, Chief Executive Malachy Brannigan said:
“We are delighted that Kolo has become the new manager of Wigan Athletic Football Club, and the Board is pleased that he is the man to take us forward.
“We received a high caliber of applicants for the manager’s job recently, 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 brought 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 exciting 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 certain 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 10th.”
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