Wayne Rooney has earmarked former England manager Steve McClaren to be a key member of his backroom staff if he takes over at Derby, TEAMtalk understands.
Rooney, 35, returned to England at the start of this year to take on a player-coach role at Pride Park. However, Derby have struggled in the early stages of this season.
Dutch coach Philip Cocu arrived with a big reputation last summer but his time with the Rams looks to be nearing its end.
Indeed, Derby have just one win after seven Championship games and find themselves in trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Rams owner Mel Morris always saw Rooney as the long-term successor, but he envisaged a more successful transition. In fact, Morris wanted a smooth takeover in a year or even two years’ time.
Ahead of his potential appointment, TEAMtalk understands that Rooney is considering his options. What’s more, he would like at least one experienced head in his staff when the opportunity comes his way.
Former Everton assistant Alan Irvine would have been one of his top targets. However the Scotsman is currently with West Ham and unlikely to break up his role with David Moyes.
As such, McClaren has become the most viable option, and it would would be a seamless integration for the 59-year-old.
He has a long-term relationship with Derby, beginning as a player.
Since then, though, he has been an assistant to Jim Smith at the Rams before joining Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant.
He subsequently had two spells as Derby manager, as well as being England boss where he spent time with Rooney.
Derby’s early-season struggles
Derby’s only Championship win this season came earlier in October, a 1-0 win over Norwich.
Aside from that result, though, Cocu’s side have only scored three goals so far, the latest coming in last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
Derby’s early-season struggles come after they failed to reach the play-offs last season.
Frank Lampard was responsible for a top-six finish in the 2018/19 season, before Cocu could only lead his side to 10th in his first campaign.