Malaysia Super League: Penang FA appoint ex-Manchester United player Ashley Westwood as coach

Penang managed to stay away from relegation zone in 2016 Super League season.

Ashley Westwood
Westwood was a popular figure among Bengaluru FC fans Reuters

Malaysia Super League side Penang, also known as the Football Association of Penang (FAP), have roped in former Manchester United player Ashley Westwood as their head coach for the 2017 season.

Westwood rose to prominence as coach after his successful spell at I-League side Bengaluru FC. The 40-year-old was associated with the club since its inception in 2013 and played a key role in making the Blues a strong local side from India.

Under Westwood, Bengaluru FC won two league titles and progressed to the quarter-final stages of AFC Cup in 2015. Notably, the I-League side were the runners-up of this year's edition of the tournament, in which they also defeated Super League champions Johor Darul Ta'zim in the semi-final.

Penang team manager Zairil Khir Johari said the FAP management hoped Westwood's experience would help their side improve at the top-tier football league in the country. Notably they finished 10th, with a point above the relegation zone, in the 2016 Super League season.

"Westwood is a well-respected coach because under his guidance, Bengaluru FC had won several titles, including the I-League, Federation Cup and made it to the AFC Cup quarter-final for two consecutive years," Johari said, as quoted by the New Straits Times Online.

Westwood would have sufficient knowledge about Malaysian Super League as his former side, Bengaluru FC, have met Johor frequently during the AFC Cup clashes.

The Englishman reportedly had two meetings with FAP management in the last few months, of which one was outside Malaysia and other was in Penang. Also, Westwood had said no to offers from top clubs in Asia, including a technical director role from Hong Kong giants FC Kitchee, and a few European clubs as well.