Danny Murphy feels Derby County would be taking a major risk handing the managerial reins to Wayne Rooney, suggesting to talkSPORT (16 November, 11am) that ‘firefighter’ Nigel Pearson would be a more sensible appointment.
Everything is changing at Pride Park – and not just in the dugout.
With Derby bottom of the table after 11 games, Phillip Cocu was handed his P45 over the weekend, leaving the Rams without a manager as they prepare to transition from the Mel Morris era to Sheikh Khaled’s reign.
35-year-old player-coach Rooney has made no secret of his desire to follow former England teammates Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard into management. But it remains to be seen whether Derby’s new owners are willing to hand the keys to a rookie boss with their second-tier status potentially on the line.
Will they instead go for the low-risk strategy of hiring a battle-scarred Championship veteran like strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, who turned to 62-year-old Tony Pulis as a relegation battle looms large over Hillsborough?
“As a player, you want the manager who’s going to suit you the best. I don’t know Rooney’s philosophy but I would imagine Rooney would want to play (attacking) football,” Murphy explained.
“If I was in charge of choosing Derby’s next manager, I’d be going for a Pulis or a (Sam) Allardyce – someone I know is going to keep me in the division.
“As a footballer, I’d want Rooney cause I know he’d play. But I think he would be too much of a risk for the owner.
“(Pearson) is more of an Allardyce or a Pulis. He plays the percentages, he’s a firefighter. Pearson would be a good appointment. Pearson is a good shout.”
Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan agrees with Murphy’s assessment, feeling that a coach who guided Leicester to the Championship title in 2014 would be the ideal man to give Derby a boost after Cocu’s goal-shy football left their youthful squad short of confidence.
Then again, would Derby really be willing to offer a second chance to a man who failed to live up to expectations at Pride Park in 2016?
Pearson managed just 14 games in a brief spell at the Rams, winning three of those.