Leeds United, Sunderland and Leicester City’s rivals sack manager and appoint ex-England international

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Watford have appointed Tom Cleverley in an interim position and his first home game in charge at Vicarage Road will come against Leeds United

Watford have made the decision to sack manager Valerien Ismael with Tom Cleverley taking up the position on an interim basis. The call comes following Saturday's home defeat to Coventry City in which Watford surrendered a lead to eventually lose 2-1.

Ismael, who had been with Watford since the summer, leaves the club sitting 13th in the Championship table, 13 points behind the play-off pace and just seven above the bottom three. He won 11 league games during his time in charge, but after a run of one victory in 10 games, Saturday's loss to the Sky Blues was deemed to be the final straw.

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The Hornets will be hoping to see a turnaround in fortunes under Cleverley, then, who retired from the game in July 2023 as a result of injury. The former Watford, Everton and Manchester United midfielder, who grew up in West Yorkshire, has been working in the club's academy since his retirement, helping to coach the under-18s.

As such, this is his first role in senior management and he'll be keen to impress despite the short-term nature of it. He'll take charge of his first game next Saturday when Watford travel to face Birmingham City.

His first home game in charge of Watford will come against Leeds United, interestingly, with the Whites travelling to Vicarage Road on Good Friday for a fixture that will be shown on Sky Sports.

A statement released on the club website read: "Tom Cleverley will assume the position of Interim Head Coach at Vicarage Road.

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"This follows Watford FC terminating the contract of Valérien Ismaël after today's home defeat to Coventry City.

"The Hornets thank Valérien and his staff for their dedication and commitment, however the club's Board considers it an appropriate time to make a change in order to improve results.

"Tom Cleverley's staff will be confirmed in due course."

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