Michael Laudrup

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Familiar names: Monk, Coyle, Di Matteo take over Championship sides

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Three very different journeys have taken former Premier League managers back to English football, as Garry Monk, Roberto Di Matteo, and Owen Coyle are headed to Championship clubs.

After quitting Houston Dynamo last week, Coyle has found a home at Blackburn Rovers. It’s the 49-year-old’s third stop since his firing from Bolton in 2012.

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Di Matteo won a Champions League-FA Cup double for Chelsea before spending time at Schalke. He’ll take the reigns at Aston Villa as owner Tony Xia looks to boost the Midlands club directly back to the Premier League.

A surprise hiring at Swansea City following the firing of Michael Laudrup, Monk had a strong start to his career as a manager before being fired early this year. The 37-year-old Monk is the latest hire at Leeds United, a club that had seen 7 men at the helm since April 2013.

The Championship will be some story to follow next year, with that well-known trio joining Rafa Benitez, Alex Neil, Chris Hughton and Steven Caldwell as second-tier bosses. Promotion is not a certainty for any club.

Swansea City appoint Francesco Guidolin as new head coach

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Swansea City has a new head coach.

Ahead of their clash against Watford on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) the Swans have appointed Francesco Guidolin to work alongside interim boss Alan Curtis.

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The Welsh side were quick to point out, however, that Guidolin will “have the final say on team selection” and will work with Curtis — who was only placed in charge on an interim basis 11 days ago — on a short-term deal until the end of the season to try and keep Swansea in the Premier League.

Guidolin, 60, most recently lead Udinese to third-place in Serie A and the Italian coach has vast experience in getting teams promoted to Serie A and has previously managed Parma, Palermo and Vicenza.

He will watch on from the stands on Monday as Swansea aim to climb out of the relegation zone with a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Both Guidolin and Swansea have agreed to review the situation at the end of the season with the option in place for his contract to be extended at the Liberty Stadium.

Chairman Huw Jenkins gave the following explanation for adding Guidolin just over a week after appointing Curtis in temporary charge.

“Although we recently appointed Alan Curtis as manager until the end of the campaign, he was aware and comfortable with the fact that we were still looking to bring someone in to assist if we found the right person,” Jenkins said. “We believe we have found that person in Francesco. He has an excellent record, especially with Udinese over the last few years. He created an Udinese side from a relatively small budget – compared to the rest of the league – that competed with the big teams in Serie A. He instilled a belief and motivation to compete and beat the best Italy had to offer. It is similar to what this football club is trying to do in the Premier League.”

“He also has a wealth of knowledge of players throughout Europe which will be a big boost on our recruitment side; something we have been reviewing in a lot more depth over the last few months. When the need arose to look for a new manager or head coach, those characteristics stood out from a number of other potential candidates, together with the enthusiasm he has shown to come in and help us turn our season around and retain our Premier League status.”

Following the firing of up and coming manager Garry Monk in December, this appointment of an experienced Italian coach with no background in the PL does seem very strange from a club who have previously appointed young managers such as Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez and Michael Laudrup to lead their rise up through the leagues.

Guidolin and Curtis have a heck of a job on their hands to keep the Swans up as they’ve won just once in their last 12 games in all competitions.

Alan Curtis to remain in charge of Swansea City

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Alan Curtis will remain in charge of Swansea City until the end of the 2015-16 Premier League season.

The long-time assistant coach of the Swans was placed in caretaker charge in December following the firing of Garry Monk and in his five games in charge they have won once, drawn twice and lost twice.

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Curtis, 61, has vast playing and coaching experience with the South Wales club having spent three spells with them as a player and working as a coach for many years under the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Monk.

In a statement on Swansea’s website chairman Huw Jenkins revealed that Swansea’s search for a new manager “hasn’t been easy because we didn’t want to make a short-term decision that would be detrimental to the club long-term.” Jenkins also revealed plenty of candidates for the job “didn’t want to put their reputations on the line by joining a club at the wrong end of the table.”

Swansea have only won two of their last 16 games in the Premier League which has seen them drop to 17th place and they currently sit just two points above the relegation zone.

The chairman went on to praise Curtis’ impact so far and hoped he would cement Swansea’s position in the PL and then this season could be reassessed in the summer.

“Alan Curtis and the current staff set-up will continue until the end of the season,’’ Jenkins said. “We firmly believe it is the right decision for Swansea City. Alan has been with us through good and bad times and was part of the management team that helped the club secure its Football League status over 12 years ago. He is fully aware of the next important job he has ahead of him to dig deep and find the required levels of performance and motivation to secure our Premier League status – our main goal this season.

“We believe there is nobody with more knowledge and experience of the club to do that than Alan Curtis. He has served Swansea City so well for more than 40 years and played an integral part in our recent success under the likes of Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Garry Monk. We have a person at the helm who fully represents all Swansea City stands for; has the respect of the players and who will provide the calm reassurance and encouragement of our footballing beliefs.”

Curtis and Swansea face fourth-tier Oxford United in the FA Cup this weekend and then have two very winnable home games in the Premier League against Sunderland and Watford in the space of a week.

Martinez sees Monk drawing interest from England

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Roy Hodgson’s contract as manager of the English national team runs through the 2016 European Championship. Following next summer’s trip to France, someone else will take the reins and attempt to lead England to its first major tournament since 1966 — assuming, of course, the Three Lions don’t triumph at EURO 2016.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Since we’re still 10 months away from the expiration of Hodgson’s employment, few are talking about who’ll replace him (yet — just wait until the new year rolls around), but Everton manager Roberto Martinez isn’t one of them.

Ahead of his side’s trip to Swansea on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra), Martinez’s former club as a player and manager, the 42-year-old Spaniard was asked about the job Garry Monk, Swans captain during Martinez’s tenure, has done during his first 18 months as Swansea manager.

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Martinez was effusive in his praise of Monk and went so far as to throw his support behind the 36-year-old Englishman for future England consideration — quotes from the Guardian:

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he was linked with England. I don’t see another manager who has had as big an influence over the last three seasons in terms of taking different roles. What he has done with Swansea has been very impressive from every angle you look at it.

“He was thrown into it when the club needed to avoid relegation [after Michael Laudrup’s departure] and gave them direction, stabilized the team and found the way to win important games. The next step was to have a clear idea of how to carry on with the philosophy of the football club, to be flexible, and Swansea finished in their highest ever position in the Premier League.

“Then this season is the most impressive one for me because he lost two or three important players, brought younger legs into the squad and the results on the pitch have been exactly the same. Garry deserves incredible credit for dealing with different situations while having incredible continuity on the pitch.”

Monk’s winning percentage currently sits just shy of 41 percent, which is extremely impressive considering his entire tenure has seen the Swans taking on Premier League competition. Only Martinez (50 percent), who managed his entire time at Swansea in the England’s second and third divisions, bests Monk’s numbers. Brendan Rodgers, who managed his his Swansea tenure in the Championship, checks in right at 40 percent.