The sacking of Manager Phillip Cocu over the weekend has led to intense speculation about his replacement. Player-coach Wayne Rooney is the current favourite to take over the role, with odds of 2/1 from bookmaker BetVictor. 35-year old Rooney joined the Rams back in January but he has been unable to stop the club’s inexorable slide to the bottom of the Championship. Derby County has only won one match out of eleven games this season and fans are looking for major changes at the club to turn the tide.
Derby County had been in the 2019 play-off final under the management of Frank Lampard, who left the club to return to Chelsea as Manager last summer. Dutchman Cocu was appointed in his place but the former Netherlands and Barcelon midfielder has not delivered for the club and his sacking was no surprise. Rooney has been appointed Interim Manager for the moment – with support from Liam Rosenior and Shay Given – but, although the former Manchester United star is front-runner to take the Manager’s job on a permanent basis, he lacks managerial experience.
The club is in a period of flux with Mel Morris, the current owner of Derby, finalising the sale of the club to Abu Dhabi’s Sheik Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan and his company Derventio Holdings. Hopes are high that the takeover will lead to significant investment which will pull through to radical improvements on the pitch but these changes will need to be put in place quickly if Derby is to stay in the Championship.
The new owner’s views on Rooney will be critical to his future at the club and there are other contenders in the mix. John Terry, for example, is tipped by bookie BetVictor at odds of 3/1 to be appointed Manager of Derby County. The former captain of Chelsea, England and Aston Villa, Terry has been Assistant Head Coach at Villa for the past two years. Again, though, Sheik Khaled may believe that he needs a more experienced manager at the helm.
Rafa Benitez has been touted as a replacement for Phillip Cocu with the odds for his appointment dropping from 25/1 to 4/1 with bookmaker Skybet. The Spaniard’s appearance as third favourite in the betting market is surprising, particularly as he is currently located in China where he has been Manager of Dalian Professional since July last year. It would certainly be a major coup for the Rams if Benitez were to be appointed as his pedigree is second-to-none. However, he has a year left on his contract and it is hard to see why he would choose to be manager of Derby County in preference to other clubs that are performing in the higher echelons of European football. Only last December, he said ““In the future I would like to come back to the Premier League but there’s no chance that I would come back right now”. But football is a game full of surprises so you never know!