Phillip Cocu: Derby County appoint ex-Barcelona man as Frank Lampard successor

Phillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu won more than 100 caps for Netherlands in a glittering playing career

Derby County have appointed former PSV Eindhoven coach Phillip Cocu as manager on a four-year deal following Frank Lampard's departure to Chelsea.

Lampard's return to Stamford Bridge was confirmed on Thursday.

The 48-year-old played 101 games for the Netherlands, and won league and cup honours with PSV and Barcelona.

Since moving into coaching, he led PSV to league and cup success, but lasted only 15 games during his last role at Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Cocu, Derby's first overseas manager, said: "I am pleased and honoured to confirm that Derby County will be my new club and can't wait to meet with the team and the fans to start this adventure together."

Chairman Mel Morris added: "We are continuing to develop our philosophy at Derby County and from the first conversation with Phillip, and his team, it was very clear they share similar views.

"The fit is strong. We want to build on the momentum that we have in our style of play, our club values, and the increasingly important role of our academy. Phillip and his team understand the need and benefits of this approach."

The Rams moved quickly to replace Lampard, whose maiden campaign in charge at Pride Park ended with a play-off final defeat by Aston Villa.

Cocu's first job will be to re-equip a squad which was supplemented by some impressive loan signings last term, including those from Lampard's new employers.

Blues duo Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount spent the season with the Rams, as did Liverpool winger Harry Wilson, and played key roles with 26 goals and 128 appearances between them.

His knowledge of the Championship will also be tested, having never managed or played in England before.

Cocu is to link up with the Rams in the United States, where his new side are continuing pre-season with a training camp in Florida.

Who is Phillip Cocu?

Phillip Cocu
Phillip Cocu was part of a Dutch revolution at Barcelona, alongside Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars

As a player, Cocu was a silky midfielder who impressed on the European stage - particularly at Barcelona - and was part of a generation of Netherlands stars that fell just short in the pursuit of international honours.

In a 17-year playing career which started at AZ Alkmaar, included time at Vitesse Arnhem, two spells at hometown club PSV and ended with a short stint at Al-Jazira, he played 686 club games and scored 133 goals.

For his country, he featured at two World Cups and three European Championships, reaching semi-finals in both competitions but finishing on the losing side three times.

His first entry into coaching came at PSV as under-19 coach, then assistant manager and culminated in his appointment as caretaker then permanent boss in 2013.

He won three league titles and a Dutch Cup while in charge, while PSV also qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League during his tenure.

Cocu also oversaw the development of players such as Netherlands international Steven Bergwijn and current Brighton forward Jurgen Locadia.

Turkish club Fenerbahce were his most recent employers, but they won just three games from 15 before he was sacked in October 2018.

Analysis

Dutch football journalist Michiel Jongsma

With a player of his calibre there is always this expectation that they will immediately be this prodigious manager, as perhaps there was with Frank Lampard at Derby County as well.

Initially Cocu struggled quite a bit. He was also ill in his first season with PSV, so it was a rocky start to life as a manager.

The way he has adapted since has been quite admirable. At PSV they became champions in three of his five seasons there.

And the one thing that stood out is that two of those sides were vastly different in terms of approach - one was very wing-back focused and the other was more midfield driven. It shows that he can adapt himself a bit, so in that sense he is typical as a Dutch manager.

He left PSV on his own terms because he wanted something different last summer and it didn't pan out. He sees this as a chance to rebuild his career, but you expect bigger clubs to come in for him because even though he wasn't a success in his previous role it's not like he is totally at fault for things that went wrong.

He has taken time off and probably developed a bit further. He is a suave, well-educated character. He knows his languages and brings that cultural aspect to the club.

I think he will do well at Derby. It's a risky club to go to, but not a risky appointment.

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