Derby County announced the appointment of Phillip Cocu as the club’s new manager in July 2019.
Former Dutch international midfielder Cocu, 48, penned a four-year contract to take charge of the Rams.
Cocu’s long and distinguished playing career saw him record almost 800 appearances in club football and win four league titles, as well as displaying himself as a natural leader both on and off the pitch.
He represented Spanish giants Barcelona in his playing career, winning La Liga on one occasion, as well as AZ Alkmaar, Vitesse Arnhem and his hometown club PSV Eindhoven (twice), in addition to Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates.
After retiring from playing, Cocu, who claimed 101 international caps for his country moved into coaching and eventually management.
Cocu impressively guided PSV Eindhoven to three Dutch league titles during five full seasons in charge between 2013 and 2018, before a brief spell in Turkey with Fenerbahçe in the 2018/19 season.
His work at PSV, producing exciting football and a strong ability to develop upcoming young talent, made him the outstanding choice to fulfil Derby’s vacant managerial position.
Cocu began his career in the late 1980s at AZ Alkmaar. He moved to Vitesse Arnhem in 1990, before joining PSV Eindhoven five years later.
After three impressive seasons with PSV, winning the league title in 1996/97, the Johan Cruyff Shield twice and the KNVB Cup once, his stock began to rise and Europe’s elite clubs stepped up and took notice of his qualities.
He joined Barcelona in the summer of 1998, and he went on to enjoy six full seasons with the Spanish giants.
In his first full campaign, 1998/99, Cocu scored 12 times from midfield as he helped Barcelona to the La Liga title alongside the current Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
He also regularly competed in the Champions League whilst at the Camp Nou and when he left in 2004 his 205 La Liga matches and 291 total appearances was, at the time, the club’s record for a foreign player.
Cocu returned to PSV for three more years between 2004 and 2007 and his homecoming could not have been more successful as he lifted three successive league titles, as well as the KNVB Cup for the second time.
His playing days ended in the United Arab Emirates with Al Jazira, where he won the 2007 Gulf Club Champions Cup.
On the international stage, Cocu won 101 caps for Holland and scored 10 goals.
His first cap came in 1996, with his last coming ten years later in 2006. During that time, he featured in the 1998 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championships.
After retiring Cocu moved into coaching at youth level with PSV and also worked as a coach with the Dutch national side and assistant to Bert Van Marwijk when Holland reached the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa.
Cocu, having also worked on the first-team coaching staff at PSV, took on the role of Caretaker Manager in March 2012 for the rest of the 2011/12 season and guided the side to a third-placed finish and the KNVB Cup title.
Cocu was named as PSV’s manager on a full-time basis in the summer of 2013 and finished fourth in his first full season as well as competing in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
In 2014/15 PSV were Eredivisie champions for the first time since 2008 and also ended a four-year domination of the league by Ajax.
They retained the title a year later, winning 26 out of 34 matches, and reached the knockout stages of the Champions League by finishing ahead of Manchester United in the group stage.
PSV finished third in 2016/17 but they stormed back to win another Eredivisie title in 2017/18 despite losing a number of key players in the close season.
On top of three title successes, PSV also won the Johan Cruyff Shield in 2015 and 2016.
Cocu opted for a fresh challenge in Turkey at Fenerbahçe in the summer of 2018. However, his stay in Istanbul was cut short after just 17 matches.Cocu’s latest chapter saw him become Derby’s first-ever non-British manager.