Four Leicester City recruits explained with Pep Guardiola analyst among arrivals

Harry Winks with Leicester City's new set-piece coach Andrew Hughes at the club's Seagrave training base
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)

When Leicester City returned to pre-season training on Monday, Steve Cooper’s backroom team were quietly confirmed.

Four members of staff were named by the club as work began at Seagrave to prepare the squad for the new season. But who are the quartet? Here, we give you the lowdown on four of the men who will be assisting the new manager and hoping to help City achieve Premier League survival.

Alan Tate – assistant manager

A club legend at Swansea after helping them to rise from League One to the Premier League, the former centre-back took on a coaching role in their academy after hanging up his boots in 2016, working with their under-18s. When Cooper took charge in South Wales, Tate stepped up to be assistant first-team coach.

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Since then, the 41-year-old has been Cooper’s right-hand man. He followed him to Nottingham Forest to become his assistant manager at the City Ground, and he’ll take on the same role at City.

Interestingly, Tate had been to Seagrave before teaming up with Cooper. For a brief period after Cooper left Swansea and following Russell Martin’s appointment, Tate worked as Swansea’s loans manager, and visited other clubs to see how they worked. One of the clubs he visited was Leicester, knowing then boss Brendan Rodgers well from his time in charge of the Swans.

Danny Alcock – goalkeeping coach

Alcock will be looking after the goalkeepers at City, having also worked alongside Cooper at Forest. In his playing career, Alcock came through the academy at Stoke before spending time with non-league teams in the West Midlands. He then returned to the Potters to become their academy goalkeeping coach.

From there, he spent a few years working with England’s youth teams at St George’s Park, including the under-20s. He also went to Japan with Team GB as the women’s football team’s goalkeeping coach. Shortly afterwards, he joined Cooper at Forest.

At the City Ground, Alcock received praise from Brice Samba after his heroics in the play-off semi-final. The goalkeeper, who was part of the France squad at Euro 2024, saved three penalties in the semi-final shoot-out against Sheffield United, crediting Alcock for the research he did in preparation.

Andrew Hughes – first-team set-piece coach

Hughes is new to Cooper’s staff, having not worked alongside the Welsh manager before. He has been brought in from Norwich, and Leicester are the latest in a long list of clubs he has represented, either as a player or as a member of staff.

As a central midfielder or full-back, Hughes made more than 500 league appearances for Oldham, Notts County, Reading, Norwich, Leeds, Scunthorpe and Charlton. Stepping into coaching, he worked with Bolton and Crystal Palace before big success at Huddersfield. Alongside David Wagner, he helped the Terriers into the Premier League.

From there he worked at both Sheffield United and Wednesday before heading to Norwich to become loans manager. When Wagner was then appointed at Carrow Road, he stepped up to become first-team coach.

Hughes had taken the lead on set-pieces at Huddersfield, but did not initially do so at Norwich. But when the Canaries’ set-piece specialist Allan Russell left, Hughes took over, immediately masterminding two short-corner routines in a 3-2 win over Millwall. He took up the responsibility full-time from there, and Norwich ranked among the best at attacking set-pieces in the Championship last season.

City have been notoriously poor at both defending and attacking set-pieces over the past few years, so Hughes has a big job on his hands. But his arrival appears to be a big boost with Norwich disappointed to lose him.

Their sporting director, Ben Knapper, said this week: “Despite all being disappointed that we’re losing such a key member of the team in Andrew, he leaves with our very best wishes. The impact of his work has been clear for everyone to see, and his energy and enthusiasm is something we’ll all miss day-to-day at the training ground. We wish him nothing but the best in his new challenge, and we’ve no doubt he’ll be a great success.”

Steve Rands – first-team coach and analyst

Rands is another trusted lieutenant of Cooper’s, working with him at both Swansea and Forest. However, he stayed on at the City Ground after Cooper’s sacking, with Leicester paying compensation to take him in from their neighbours.

Like Hughes, Rands has been employed by plenty of clubs. Starting at Barnsley, he then moved to Scunthorpe before taking on an analyst job at Manchester City. Under Pep Guardiola, he was promoted to head of performance analysis, a role he has since taken at Derby, Swansea and Forest.

Explaining his role while at Swansea, Rands said: “I’ll look at all of the opposition games and pick out certain moments that fit into our philosophy, in terms of how we can beat them, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses and how we can get at them. Then we just plan and prepare from there.

“(Cooper) was the one who really enticed me to the club (Swansea). His philosophy and his ideas around the game really fit with mine. I’ve worked really closely with him and his coaching team. It’s one of the best coaching set-ups I’ve been in.”

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