Wayne Rooney is being lined-up for a first step into management at Derby County as current boss Phillip Cocu faces the sack unless results improve quickly.
The Rams have endured a poor start to the Championship season, losing their first three games and only picking up their first win of the campaign in their last outing against Norwich.
It was a last-minute Rooney free-kick that gave Derby a 1-0 win over the Canaries and kept Cocu in his job, but the patience of the board is wearing thin and could even be worn out by Friday evening when Watford visit Pride Park.
Defeat at home to the Hornets could see Cocu ousted and Rooney promoted, although he would need to have an experience and fully qualified manager alongside him as he hasn’t completed all his FA coaching badges yet.
The England legend has been working as a player-coach with Derby since November 2019 but is yet to complete all the required courses to become a full-time manager.
The Sun report that Derby want to bring back former boss John Gregory to work alongside Rooney in a joint effort to guide the club up the Championship table.
Gregory has managed Aston Villa, Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, QPR and Crawley Town in England but was most recently in charge of Chennaiyian in the Indian Super League in 2019.
Cocu, ironically, backed Rooney to become a manager early in their work together at Derby, having been impressed with him on the training pitch.
‘When we were on the grass on the training pitch he is a player and he trains,’ said the Dutchman. ‘When you play a game eight against eight he will talk with the individual players and the young guys. That is natural and something he always does.
‘But when we are preparing or doing analysis he was part of it and in the office of the coaches.
‘The work he does as a coach is more in the analysis and clips we plan.
‘He is very interested in it, not only now but he did it also at United and DC.
‘He is very interested in the tactics and how we prepare training and the games – no doubt he will be a manager in the future.’