Next Hibs manager: Phillip Cocu keen on Easter Road job as ex-Barcelona midfielder eyes first role since 2020 Derby exit

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Phillip Cocu is keen on the Hibs managerial vacancy, with the former Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder eyeing a return to management two years after his Derby County exit.

The 51-year-old, who also represented AZ Alkmaar, Vitesse Arnhem, hometown side PSV Eindhoven and Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira during a twenty-year playing career, has signalled an interest in succeeding Shaun Maloney, who was ousted from the job after just four months in charge earlier this month.

However, Hibs chiefs are still taking their time to select the right candidate to take over ahead of the 2022/23 season and won’t be rushed into a decision, with Cocu and former Sunderland and Ipswich boss Roy Keane among those throwing their hat into the ring.

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Interim boss David Gray is in charge until the end of the season and chief executive Ben Kensell is currently down in London with Head of Recruitment Ian Gordon to conduct preliminary talks with some hopefuls.

It is hoped that these informal discussions will help Hibs piece together a longlist of quality candidates suitable for the role, with the club’s hierarchy eager to avoid another inexperienced appointment and a safer pair of hands with experience of football in the UK.

Cocu was part of the coaching staff when the Netherlands reached the 2010 World Cup final, losing to Spain, and spent time coaching PSV’s youth teams before taking interim charge of the first team in 2012 after Fred Rutten was relieved of his duties.

He promoted current Barcelona and Netherlands striker Memphis Depay to the first team and led the team to the KNVB Cup, but returned to coaching the under-19s following the appointment of Dick Advocaat.

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However, Cocu retook the reins when the former Rangers boss departed in 2013 and won three Eredivisie titles in four seasons.

Phillip Cocu has expressed an interest in the Hibs managerial vacancyPhillip Cocu has expressed an interest in the Hibs managerial vacancy
Phillip Cocu has expressed an interest in the Hibs managerial vacancy

A less successful spell followed at Turkish side Fenerbahce before a season-and-a-half at Derby. He led the Rams to tenth in the English Championship and won plaudits for his style of football – dubbed ‘Cocuball’ – but left the club in November 2020 with the Pride Park side rooted to the bottom of the league.

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