Leeds appoint Paul Heckingbottom as new manager – here is all you need to know about him
There is a new manager at Elland Road. Leeds United have sacked Thomas Christiansen and have appointed Paul Heckingbottom as their new gaffer. Despite being in charge of Leeds for a mere 8 months, Christiansen was shown the exit door after a rather underwhelming slew of performances. There was growing frustration among the fans and eventually, the management chose to let him leave in order to find somebody who could truly help them progress further.
Although Heckingbottom seems like an interesting choice, Barnsley were not too happy with the fact that he left them despite signing a rolling contract extension only on February 2nd.
Be that as it may, this could prove to be an immense opportunity for the 40-year-old, who has only managed Barnsley ever since he embarked on his managerial career. As a player, Heckingbottom had played for the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Bradford City, Mansfield Town and Gateshead.
Interestingly, the Englishman embarked on his football journey by playing as a youth star for Manchester United. He was primed for a bright future but he failed to land a professional contract at Old Trafford, following which Heckingbottom made his way to Sunderland.
Since then, he has played for a wide array of clubs either on loan or permanently, hence boasting of a wealth of experience as a player. A defender by trade, Heckingbottom’s playing career was a long journey of ‘what could have been’.
However, he decided to remain in the world of football and stepped in as a manager. His former club Barnsley opened their doors for him and appointed him as the coach of the Development Squad. Heckingbottom worked quite well and he was eventually appointed as the caretaker boss in 2015 after the club sacked Danny Wilson. About a year later, he was presented with a similar opportunity once more after the sacking of Lee Johnson and that was when Heckingbottom seized the chance with both hands.
Barnsley appointed him as the permanent manager in 2016 and he endured a fairly successful spell as they finished the season in 9th place. For his efforts, Heckingbottom was declared Sports Hero of The Year by The Yorkshire Post.
Now, he will have quite a challenge ahead of him as he gets set to take charge at Leeds and this could be the job to help him make a bigger name for himself across England. If he can make things work at Elland Road, there is no doubt that he is destined for greater things in the future.