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Why this Dutch legend would be an ideal replacement for Frank Lampard at Derby County

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Derby County opinion: Cocu would be a perfect boss for the Rams

According to The Telegraph, Derby County have lined up former Dutch international midfielder Phillip Cocu as a potential replacement for Frank Lampard, with reports claiming that Rams owner Mel Morris has made contact with the 48-year-old over a move to the Championship.

Lampard is set to complete a sensational return to Chelsea as the new manager, following the departure of Maurizio Sarri to Juventus and it seems pretty clear that Derby are prepared to appoint a replacement as soon as possible prior to their pre-season training camp in Florida, The Telegraph understands.

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The same report claims that preliminary discussions between Derby County and Cocu have aleady taken place, with club owner Mel Morris likely to hold advanced talks with the 48-year-old later in the week.

However, it remains to be seen whether the Dutch legend is prepared to take up a role in the Championship.

Derby will be entitled to a compensation of £4million should Lampard join Chelsea this summer and that fee is likely to increase if his assistants Chris Jones and Jody Morris also make the move to Stamford Bridge. (h/t Telegraph)

Cocu is currently a free agent, following his dismissal from Turkish club Fenerbahce last November and the Rams would be able to get him on board for absolutely nothing, which is probably one of the reasons why they are looking at him as a realistic option ahead of the upcoming season.

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The 48-year-old’s managerial spell at Fenerbahce was rather ill-fated but his previous exploits at PSV Eindhoven are likely to appeal to the Rams.

Considered as one of the best midfielders in the 1990s, Phillip Cocu hardly needs an introduction to any football fan across the globe, having featured for clubs like PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona over the course of his illustrious playing career which stretched almost for a couple of decades.

A 101-cap former Dutch international, Cocu represented The Netherlands at 2 FIFA World Cups (1998 and 2006) and 3 European Championships (1996,2000 and 2004).

After ending his playing days at Al-Jazira in UAE, Cocu returned to his homeland to take up the role of an assistant coach for his national side. He was present at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, as The Netherlands went all the way through to the finals before eventually losing out to champions Spain.

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Cocu, however, rose to prominence as a manager on the club front during his time at PSV Eindhoven from 2013 to 2018.

The Dutchman not only brought about a revolution at his previous club with his holistic training methods but he also promoted a number of talented youngsters from the club’s academy, including someone like Memphis Depay, who went on to establish himself as a star performer in the years to come. 

Eindhoven reached great heights in the Eredivisie under the stewardship of Cocu, winning three domestic titles over five years and putting an end to the dominance of Ajax in Dutch football. The 48-year-old went on to register a total of 144 victories in 220 games managed across all competitions at PSV, boasting of a win percentage of 65.45.

To put things into perspective, the departure of Lampard is certainly a big blow for Derby but the potential appointment of Phillip Cocu as the new manager could be a step in the right direction for the Rams, who will be expected to reignite their surge for promotion next season. 

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Lampard came ever so close to guiding the club back to the Premier League for the first time since 2007-08, and while they lost out to Aston Villa in the playoffs this time around, the fans at Pride Park have every reason to expect that whoever takes charge would go one step better next term.

Cocu might not have any previous managerial experience in England but he showed during his time at PSV that he has got all the essentials to evolve into a top-class manager and Derby could do themselves a world of good by putting their trust in him.


Cocu’s technical know-how of the game, his ability to make use of the club’s academy ranks and promote youngsters, as well as his expertise in handling affairs on and off the pitch, should make him a wonderful choice for Derby County.

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Hence, it would be fair to say that the appointment of the Dutchman would be a big statement of intent from the Rams as far as the race for promotion is concerned.