By Associated Press - Thursday, June 8, 2017

LEICESTER, England (AP) - Leicester hired Craig Shakespeare as the club’s permanent manager on a three-year deal on Thursday following his successful interim spell in charge of the 2015-16 Premier League champion.

Shakespeare replaced title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri in February on a short-term deal and won eight of his 16 games in all competitions, helping Leicester pull clear of the league’s relegation zone.

“Craig has shown all the qualities in leadership, motivation and talent management that are required to be successful in this role,” Leicester vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha said.

This will be Shakespeare’s first stint as a full-time manager. He was Leicester’s assistant manager under Ranieri and predecessor Nigel Pearson, and had the same position at Hull.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for me to continue along this new path in my career,” the 53-year-old Shakespeare said, “and to continue to work with a club and a group of staff I’ve grown extremely close to.”

Shakespeare won his first five Premier League games in charge, becoming the first British manager to achieve the feat, as Leicester moved away from 17th place in the 20-team division to finish a respectable 12th. He helped Leicester reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League after masterminding a 2-0 win over Sevilla in the second leg of their last-16 match.

Under Ranieri, Leicester won the Premier League title at preseason odds of 5,000-1 for one of the most stunning achievements in sporting history, but veered away the following season from the strengths and qualities that made the team so hard to play against.

Shakespeare kept Leicester’s style simple and managed to restore the intensity and counter-attacking menace to the team’s play.

“Our primary objective for the coming years is to successfully translate the extraordinary experiences of the last two seasons into lessons that will strengthen and enhance the club’s pursuit of its long-term vision of sustainable success,” Srivaddhanaprabha said.

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