German-American coach David Wagner has officially been given the reigns at Norwich City FC, and will become the third head coach for USMNT forward Josh Sargent at the Championship promotion hopefuls.
While the Canaries have remained within shot of the promotion playoff spots for the bulk of the season so far, their worsening fortunes over their last handful of outings prompted the team’s administration to part ways with former head coach Dean Smith.
Interim coach Allan Russell led the team to a loss and a draw over two games while the search was ongoing, with the team dropping to 11th. Wagner will now have 20 games to right the ship, and put the team in a strong position for a return to the Premier League.
“Norwich City are delighted to announce the appointment of David Wagner as the club’s new head coach,” the team announced on Friday afternoon, confirming that he initially has signed a 12-month “rolling contract”.
Wagner will be joined by longtime assistant Christoph Bühler, who has been at the former USMNT player’s side for all of his coaching jobs since his early days with Dortmund’s U23 side.
“This is a very special and proud moment for me. To be here, back in England, as the head coach of Norwich City is a huge honour,” Wagner stated through the team’s media channels.
“This is a new challenge for us all. Will it be easy? No. We have to leave what has happened in the past behind. If we want success, we have to be together. Together as a group of players, backroom staff and supporters.”
The Frankfurt-born 51 year-old has a long history of working with American players as a coach. Most recently, he oversaw Jordan Pefok at Young Boys in Switzerland; while the posting ended in disappointment for Wagner as he was fired in the final months of his first season, Pefok enjoyed an impressive run of scoring that eventually led to a transfer to Germany’s Union Berlin.
Sargent is having a successful season so far with Norwich, and will look to continue it under the new leadership. He has netted nine goals and assisted on two further over 24 contests.
Norwich is back in action on Sunday when they host Blackburn in the FA Cup. Wagner’s first league game will take place on Saturday, January 8 with a trip to Preston. Currently, the Canaries are only three points out of the playoff, however trail the automatic promotion spots by a full 15 points.