Football

Nearing 70, Ranieri still relishing life in the fast lane

Watford's new boss doesn't rule out managing in EPL till 80, with a walking stick

Watford's new manager Claudio Ranieri is five days shy of his 70th birthday, but said he is still young enough to take on the challenge of keeping the club in the English Premier League.

The Italian arrives at Vicarage Road as successor to Xisco Munoz, who was sacked after just seven games into the season.

English Premier League
WATFORD LIVERPOOL

Ranieri, who led Leicester City to a shock league title in 2015/16 and last worked in England's top flight during the 2018/19 campaign with Fulham, said he was looking forward to returning to the EPL, having also managed Chelsea from 2000 to 2004.

"I love football. I love the life. Fifty… 70… 80 maybe… why not? The oldest manager in England maybe, with a walking stick," Ranieri said ahead of his Watford debut against Liverpool tomorrow.

"But the brain is important and the brain is very young."

Expressing his delight to return to the EPL, he added: "I'm an ambitious man and I hope to keep Watford safe this season."

The Hornets are 15th in the EPL with seven points from as many games and four points above the drop zone.

Ranieri is the 13th managerial appointment in nine years for the club's owner Gino Pozzo.

The veteran tactician, who led to Sampdoria to ninth spot in last season's Serie A, said he is not concerned about the managerial turnover at Vicarage Road.

STAY SAFE

"In Italy, it is normal to change managers (frequently)... I can't think about previous managers and Xisco was my player in Valencia, I hope he can find a new solution very soon. But now, I have to do my best for Watford," added Ranieri, who admitted that he has yet to meet all his players due to the international break.

"We have to be safe and then slowly we go up. Forty points we have to achieve and next season 41, then 42 and 43. On Saturday, there will be one of the best teams in the world... It will be a battle, and we will battle."

While he was managing Leicester, Ranieri famously offered a pizza treat for the Foxes if they kept a clean sheet.

But he is promising to be more generous if the Hornets can shut out the Reds tomorrow.

"No pizza. I pay for dinner if we keep a clean sheet! Pizza is too little," he said. - REUTERS

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