|Steve Cooper||14/1||William Hill|
|Paul Cook||25/1||William Hill|
|Rafael Benitez||25/1||Paddy Power|
*Odds correct as of December 14, 2020
Wayne Rooney has taken temporary charge of first-team duties and is among the potential contenders to replace Cocu on a full-time basis, although the waters have been muddied by the fact that owner Mel Morris is hoping to sell the Midlands club to Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan of the Bin Zayed Group.
With an imminent takeover on the cards, bookmakers are expecting Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan to install a high-profile manager in charge of Derby County and that explains why Rafael Benitez is trading as the betting favourite to become the next Rams boss. Indeed, the Spaniard is no bigger than odds of 8/5 at the time of writing and has been strongly linked with a return to England.
Benitez is currently the Head Coach of Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional and his contract isn’t due to run out until the end of 2021, although it’s possible that the former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss could be lured back to England, especially if the price and ambition is right from the club’s prospective new owners.
The Spaniard has a strong managerial track record and that includes steering Newcastle United to the Premier League from the Championship before keeping them in the top flight, with Benitez the sort of manager who would attract star players at Pride Park and it’s easy to see why such a link has been made by the bookies.
However, one wonders whether the 60-year-old has the appetite to build a brand new squad at an English Championship club and he did take over at Newcastle when the club were still in the top flight, with Benitez having previously been linked to vacant roles since heading out to China although none of these have come to anything.
Next Manager Betting
When Wayne Rooney agreed to sign for Derby County, part of the thinking was that the former Manchester United and England legend would gain experience on the coaching side of things with a view to the scouser then be able to transition from playing to managing in a seamless fashion, although an opportunity to coach has come along unexpectedly.
Rooney is currently experiencing what it’s like to take charge of a professional football team, albeit as part of a coaching team rather than being the only man in charge and perhaps the opportunity to manage Derby County has come along a little too soon despite the fact that the new owners might regard him as the sort of household name that could attract star players.
It’s clear that Rooney eventually wants to manage, although will he choose to follow in the footsteps of Frank Lampard if given the chance and actually take charge of the Derby first team? Alternatively, he might take the John Terry option and form part of a backroom staff at Pride Park in the same way that the former has done at Aston Villa.
The bookies think Rooney is a viable contender and he has the advantage of already being on the Derby County payroll, with the bookies pricing up the former Everton striker anywhere between 7/2 and 5/1 to get the gig on a full-time basis.
While Rafael Benitez and Wayne Rooney are instantly recognisable names in the world of football, less is known about Steve Cooper although he’s quietly going about earning himself a reputation for being a smart young manager whose work at Swansea City is starting to get noticed by a wider audience.
Cooper has prospered at the Liberty Stadium since the Swans were relegated from the Premier League, with the Welshman having previously been part of the England youth set-up and his City team are earning rave reviews for a style of football which helped them reach the Championship play-offs last term.
Cooper is now trading at single figure betting odds to become the next Derby County manager and one wonders what he’s capable of achieving should a bigger budget be afforded to someone who has had to rebuild the Swansea squad following them dropping to the English professional second tier.
The fact that Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis are still involved in football management tells us that these experienced campaigners ultimately find it hard to walk away from the game for too long. Perhaps the same will apply to Sam Allardyce who hasn’t been seen on a football touchline since taking temporary charge at Everton FC while they were waiting on Marco Silva.
Allardyce has a pretty strong track record when it comes to managing in the Premier League and Championship, with the 66-year-old having held a string of posts and he’s improved the fortunes of Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers among others.
Allardyce is now as short as 5/1 to become the next manager of Derby County and he might feel as though he has one big project left in him. Providing the price was right, Big Sam might regard the Rams position as an attractive one if he’s going to be paid a substantial sum to transform the fortunes of a club who are currently looking as though they will be relegated to League One.
John Terry left Chelsea to sign for Aston Villa as a player and he’s subsequently remained at Villa Park following his retirement, with the former England captain now part of Dean Smith’s backroom staff and he’s helped the Midlands club get promotion from the Championship and then remain in the Premier League for the time being.
Smith has credited JT for a big improvement in the defence at Villa Park, with Tyrone Mings and Ezra Konsa working closely with Terry although perhaps the Chelsea legend might want to follow in the footsteps of close friend Frank Lampard and look to take charge of Derby County, especially if he’s given a war chest in order to recruit better players.
Terry is as short as 11/2 to get the Rams role on a full-time basis, although one wonders if he would be willing to apply for this role considering that life must be good at Villa Park, especially with the Midlands club faring so well in the Premier League this season and his neck is never on the line with this job.
Not much has been heard about Eddie Howe since he decided to step down as Bournemouth first-team manager after a long and illustrious spell at the Vitality Stadium, although it’s implausible that the former Burnley manager will walk away from football management forever and perhaps his interest could be piqued when it comes to the Derby position.
Howe will want a shot at redemption after seeing the Cherries get relegated last season and perhaps the powers-that-be at Pride Park will make a beeline for a young manager who previously steered Bournemouth from League One to the Premier League and managed to keep the Dorset club there for several seasons despite a modest budget.
The biggest wrench for Howe would be having to relocate from his south coast home for large parts of the week, although football managers can never wait for the right opportunity to come along and Paddy Power go as short as 15/2 that Howe finds a home in the East Midlands.
Paul Cook has been keeping a public profile since leaving Wigan Athletic at the end of last season and it’s highly likely that the scouser will return to football management sooner rather than later. It’s likely that the former Chesterfield and Portsmouth manager would be interested in the Derby County position, although he’s only managed at Championship level with the Latics.
It’s therefore possible that he might be seen as something of a risk and the same could apply to Danny Cowley who only had a brief taste of football management in the English second tier before Huddersfield decided to go in yet another new direction, although the former Lincoln City boss will still feel as though he can operate at the highest level in the Premier League.
Garry Monk is a free agent once again after recently leaving Sheffield Wednesday although it might cause concern that the manager has only had short spells with a spate of Championship clubs and that includes Birmingham City, Swansea City, Middlesbrough and Leeds United. Perhaps he might struggle to find a way back in with Derby.