London: Leonid Slutsky will look to become the first Russian coach to manage in the English Premier League after taking charge of second-tier Hull on Friday.
It is the 46-year-old Slutsky's first job since December, when he ended a seven-year stint at CSKA Moscow, having won three Russian league titles. He also coached Russia at the 2016 European Championship.
Slutsky has never coached outside his native country, and he takes over a team that was relegated from the Premier League last month after one season back in the top flight.
"I am very much looking forward to the challenge of guiding the club back to the Premier League," said Slutsky, who will arrive at the northern club next week subject to international clearance.
Hull said planning for next season under Slutsky was "already well underway." After losing the CSKA and Russia jobs last year, Slutsky has been learning English in Britain.
A fall from a tree at the age of 18, while retrieving a neighbor's cat, ended his fledgling career as a goalkeeper but Slutsky refused to give up on football.
He spent the next two decades working his way up from local under-12s coaching jobs to the Russian Premier League, where he made his name with good results on small budgets at FC Moscow and Krylia Sovetov before joining CSKA in 2009. There he built a team that combined a highly organized Russian defensive line with attacking flair from the likes of Alan Dzagoev and former Manchester United midfielder Zoran Tosic.
Slutsky doubled up as CSKA and Russia coach starting in 2015, but both teams were filled with aging Russian veterans and poor results followed in the Champions League and European Championship.
Slutsky is an observant Jew, which caused a rift with some nationalist CSKA fans when he donned religious garb for a promotional film for a Jewish cultural center. He is known for his hangdog expression on the touchline and impatient attitude to TV interviews, but showed his lighter side by performing in live comedy shows in Russia.
"After a thorough recruitment process, Leonid's attention to detail, thoughts on playing style and his ambition made him the stand-out candidate," Hull vice chairman Ehab Allam said. "I am excited about his plans for guiding us back towards the Premier League."
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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 19:48:48 IST