Lowdown on Leicester City’s new assistant manager

Leicester City bench (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Leicester City bench (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Who is new Leicester City assistant manager Jacky Bonnevay?

Jacques “Jacky” Bonnevay is Claude Puel’s new assistant manager. He is a former French footballer and coach – his recent promotion and switch sees him become Puel’s right-hand-man. Leicester City made a statement over the backroom staff’s summer overhaul:

"“Leicester City can today announce a restructure of Manager Claude Puel’s First Team coaching staff ahead of the 2018/19 season.“Jacques Bonnevay – a respected coach of nearly 20 years’ experience – has joined the Club as Claude’s new Assistant Manager. They will be supported by the senior coaching team of Pascal Plancque, Mike Stowell and new First Team Coach Adam Sadler.“Meanwhile, the Club has reached an agreement with Michael Appleton that will see him leave his assistant managerial position with immediate effect.”(Via: lcfc.com)"

Appleton’s departure was slightly disappointing: I saw him as a man who would be beneficial to any club in some department.

Although, Puel is entitled to select his own team. Appleton was there before the Frenchman arrived and most likely only wanted an assistant to the manager job and nothing below that level. The former Oxford United boss did win his only two games in charge: beating Swansea and Leeds United, respectively.

Of Appleton, Puel said this:

"“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Appleton for everything he has done to help me during his time with the Club. He’s a good man, a strong character and an excellent coach with the leadership qualities to continue building a successful career.” – Claude Puel"

Moving on; Bonnevay is the focus of our piece. A lively character, who appears to speak his mind politely and enjoys his time in football. Refreshing as always to witness a person doing so.

You can check out ‘Jacky’s musings’ and follow his recent career with the Japanese national squad before the Russia World Cup, here. Also included on his Twitter account are pictures in and around the Leicester City first team set-up.

From every account I have read in previous jobs, Bonnevay was a respected and well liked player, coach and now assistant. The former defender played at a very high level: Marseille, Nice and Red Star. In 1988 he was at Le Havre AC; the club where Leicester City found Premier League Riyad Mahrez.

In his capacity as boss, Bonnevay won the Ligue 2 Manager of the Year award with AS Beauvais Oise. While with Hajime Moriyasu as his No.2, the pair implemented form which helped Japan’s national side to a respectable Round of 16 World Cup finish.

However, the 57-year-old left the structure as his chief was relieved of duty before the tournament; but clearly has pedigree. Following his removal he stayed in contact with the ‘Samurai Blue’ players who reportedly admire their ex-coach massively.

In his capacity as a World Cup pundit during the summer, Bonnevay praised the Japan team and country despite them ending his contract before such a monumental and beautiful competition.

Great character shown there – a ‘footballer’s footballer’. I noticed him chatting to countryman Paul Pogba after the Manchester United match – most likely congratulating and thanking the star for France’s Russian triumph. Rather than the Foxes loss, of course.

Bonnevay was already familiar with Leicester City from 2016, which always helps to acclimatise – especially with pronunciation: “I took the opportunity to observe our players in Europe. I supervised two matches in England to see [Shinji] Okazaki with Leicester. I was able to talk with [Claudio] Ranieri, who speaks French.” Quote courtesy of France Football.

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L’Equipe tell us the Foxes assistant: “will discover a sixth country, England, since he has also worked in Niger and Turkey… [and] signed a two-year contract [with Leicester City].” Where he will presumably concentrate on defensive tactics as a renowned technician with 20 years experience. Whereas Puel was not a defender but a defensive-midfielder: enabling topical crossover.

The two men did not play or work as trainers together, they were familiar from the French leagues and Puel is obviously impressed with his new No.2’s resume. At Old Trafford in Bonnevay’s first competitive game as assistant, Leicester lost 2-1 to United. Bring on Wolverhampton Wanderers this Saturday!