Phillip Cocu: Everything you need to know about the potential next Derby manager

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 01 July 2019, 13:49

Derby County have let manager Frank Lampard skip training in order to speed up his imminent move to Chelsea.

*Frank Lampard has now left Derby for Chelsea, while Phillip Cocu has signed a four-year deal with the Rams*

Should a deal be agreed, Lampard will become the second successive Rams boss to be lured away from the club; following Gary Rowett’s regrettable decision to leave for Stoke last summer, a spell that came to an end after 29 games.

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Over the weekend The Times reported that Derby have audaciously set their sights upon Phillip Cocu, the out-of-work Dutchman who previously led PSV to three Dutch titles.

Below we take a look at Cocu's career, both as a player and manager.

The Player

Like Lampard, Cocu enjoyed a decorated playing career in the centre of the park. The former midfielder began life in football at Dutch side AZ in 1989 before moving onto Vitesse, then over to PSV in 1995. It was there - in two separate spells - where Cocu won four Eredivisie titles, three of which were won in succession, along with a couple of KNVB Cups, and two Johan Cruyff Shields.

In between those spells at PSV Cocu spent six years at Barcelona in a period when the Spanish club had a significant Dutch core; featuring Louis van Gaal as manager, and the likes of Michael Reiziger, the De Boer brothers, and Patrick Kluivert. However, Cocu’s only trophy during this period was the 1998/99 La Liga title, alongside a certain Pep Guardiola.

Cocu ended his career at United Arab Emirates side Al Jazira Club. Meanwhile, he sported the Holland shirt on 101 occasions - 8th in the all-time list - and appeared at the 1998 and 2006 World Cups, along with the European Championships in 1996, 2000, and 2004.


The Manager

Cocu played under a range of prominent Dutch managers, including Van Gaal, Guus Hiddink - who also managed Lampard at Chelsea - Dick Advocaat, Ronald Koeman, and Frank Rijkaard.

Coco gained managerial experience working in PSV’s youth set-up, followed by a brief stint as the club’s caretaker manager where he won the KNVB Cup. During this period he also worked under Bert van Marwijk in the Holland national team set-up, and helped play a part in their run to the 2010 World Cup Final.

In 2013 Cocu replaced his old boss Advocaat at the helm of PSV, and proceeded to win the Eredivisie title in three of his five seasons in charge, plus a couple of Johan Cruyff Shields. During his time at PSV he oversaw the development of the likes of Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jeffrey Bruma while The Times noted that he produced “organised teams" and is known for his "calm, low-key man-management skills."

Cocu switched PSV for Fenerbahçe in 2018, however it was a move that backfired as the Turkish club sacked him after just 16 games - he recorded only nine points from 10 league matches - and he has yet to return to management.

What Next?

Cocu is now a surprise contender for the Derby job - in the betting at least - after bookmakers Bet Victor cut his odds to just 2/1. It didn’t work out for him at Fenerbahçe, but he deserves huge praise for his work at PSV, and would undoubtedly be a big coup for the Championship club.

“Style of play is key, the intensity of play is key, the connection with the fans is key,” Derby owner Mel Morris told talkSPORT. And Cocu could prove to be the perfect fit.

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