Kevin Phillips would not be surprised if Wayne Rooney ended up taking over as Derby County manager if Phillip Cocu continues to struggle at Pride Park, while speaking on Alan Brazil’s Sports Breakfast on talkSPORT (13 September, 9.30am).
Derby stunned the footballing world when they confirmed in August that DC United talisman Rooney would be on his way back to England when the MLS season comes to an end just before the turn of the year.
The veteran striker, who is the all-time record goalscorer for Manchester United and England, will be taking on a player-coach role with the Rams as he looks to gain the required experience to be a success in management.
And Phillips, who was an assistant coach at Derby during Paul Clement’s time in charge, believes Rooney could even end up taking Cocu’s job if the Dutchman fails to turn things around at a club who are currently 19th in the Championship after six games.
“That’s a bit of a strange one, Derby could be in mid-table and well off the play-offs (by the time Rooney arrives in January),” Phillips said, admitting that The Rams have struggled since Cocu took over.
“Wayne wants to get into coaching and that might give him an opportunity. I see that as a natural profession, play but also one eye on how things work, how things go on behind the scenes.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Wayne is put into a position of managing the team.”
Derby were play-off finalists under Frank Lampard just four months ago but Cocu’s biggest critics should not overlook the fact that Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori, the Rams' three star performers from last season, all departed over the summer along with the current Chelsea boss.
And Jack Marriott, the most natural goalscorer in Derby’s squad, has struggled for fitness in the first few weeks of the new campaign too.
Have something to tell us about this article?