Who next for Derby County?

It's been a busy few weeks for Derby. Since Cocu left his role by mutual consent, it seems like every man and his dog has been linked. Rafa Benitez, Sam Allardyce, John Gregory (sort of).

But with the take over by Derventio Holdings on the cusp, speculation is building and candidates are being narrowed down. Couple that with Steve McClaren returning to the club, could it be a young appointment? Or do Derby need some experience and knowhow to get the club out of trouble.

We look into the candidates below, bringing in the most realistic choices:

John Terry

The former Chelsea captain is currently odds on favourite to take on the role at Derby. Terry obviously has a wealth of leadership experience and has the personal know-how to organise a defence that has conceded 21 goals in on 14 games.

Terry has been the assistant manager under Dean Smith at Aston Villa since October 2018 and in that time has overseen a promotion from the Championship and a last-ditch survival from relegation in the Premier League.

He has been a part of a very successful Aston Villa team and atmosphere. But for Derby, in the precarious position that they are in, to hire a complete unknown like Terry would be a massive risk.

Not the appointment for me.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney is a similar proposition to Terry.

A brilliant former player with no real experience managing a team. There are a few differences between them though:

Wayne Rooney has no coaching experience at all. With the exception of his weird, player-coach role that he has held at Derby, this gives the advantage to literally everyone else competing for the job.

The only thing that gives him an opportunity is his knowledge of the players in the dressing room. Rooney doesn’t have the experience of a relegation battle, either in his playing career or his coaching, so won’t have the knowledge of how to encourage his players to get on the right track.

When Rooney was brought in last season it screamed of a future managerial appointment to me, but it would be a huge mistake to appoint him as manager given the clubs’ current position.

Liam Rosenior

Liam Rosenior is the final option for Derby in terms of young, untested candidates.

Appointed as co-caretaker manager alongside Wayne Rooney, the former Hull City player is going under the radar at the minute on terms of favourites for the job.

Rosenior came out recently and talked of his passion for coaching. He had retired earlier than usual so that he could pursue it and I imagine that he will see this as a good opportunity.

The ex-full back started out as coach of Brighton's u23s team, before joining Derby at the beginning of last season to be part Phillip Cocu's coaching team.

This appointment would make more sense to me than the John Terry or Wayne Rooney options, Rosenior has good knowledge of the players at the club, and has a few years experience on Wayne Rooney. If Derby are to appoint one of these three inexperienced managers, it really should be Liam Rosenior.

Paul Cook

Paul Cook is another person being linked with the empty hot seat at Derby. Having left Wigan in the summer after a very impressive spell there, the experienced manager is out of a job and is waiting for his next opportunity.

He's a manager I really rate, he did wonders with his Wigan side over the last few seasons to keep them in the championship, he has experience of relegation battles and knows how to set a team up to be tough to beat.

Derby are in a position where they would benefit from an experienced head taking the reigns.

Cook is sensible, no nonsense and solid, he would be a very good appointment in my mind.

Steve Cooper

The current Swansea boss has been publicly linked with the role and it clear that the Derby board view him as a good candidate.

The disguise will come in extracting him from his oddities in Wales. Cooper is a very impressive young manager, he has a great first year in charge of Swansea last season and has put together a solid team this year too.

His experience with coaching in the England youth set-up would stand him a great chance of getting the best out of Derby's talented youngsters.

If they can peruse him from Swansea, this would be a great appointment, but I'm not sure how likely that is to happen.


My choice is Paul Cook. I understand that he won't be the most popular option within the Derby fanbase, but it's a huge risk to employ a completely inexperienced manager at this point in the season.

A club of Derby's size cannot afford to be relegated and Paul Cook has a good track record in this regard. The former Wigan man would be the sensible choice.

By Theo Hewson-Betts | @thewsonbetts


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