Kevin Phillips has told reporters for the Mirror that he worked alongside some great managers at Derby County as he sets his sights on the vacant Sunderland job.
The Mirror claim Phillips has called Sunderland owner Stewart Donald about the job.
The Black Cats are on the lookout for a new manager after they sacked Jack Ross. Phillips, an iconic former player at Sunderland, is among those in contention.
He is expected to be on Wearside for talks in the next few days.
Phillips has coached at Derby and Stoke City after retiring from playing. And, he cites three former Rams managers as great bosses he has worked alongside.
“I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve worked with some great managers in my time as a coach. Steve McClaren, Paul Clement, Nigel Pearson. It’s been a great learning curve.”
Phillips’ questionable claim will have Derby fans doubting his judgement:
Phillips arrived at Derby in 2015 as assistant coach to Paul Clement. At the time it seemed like a good move by the Rams, but things quickly went downhill.
Derby, backed by heavy spending from owner Mel Morris, fell short in the race for automatic promotion under the guidance of former Real Madrid coach Paul Clement.
Clement was deservedly sacked less than eight months into the role.
Clement’s football was slow, unimaginative and boring. However, it was still better than his successor Nigel Pearson who seemingly dismantled a decent side overnight.
Pearson sent top scorer Chris Martin out on loan to Fulham. And he played Will Hughes as a holding midfielder. The former Leicester City man was a disaster.
Pearson lasted just nine games. In that time, Phillips was coaching the strikers. Derby scored just two Championship goals in those nine games, winning one game.
Things improved under Steve McClaren. Most Rams supporters acknowledge he is an excellent coach. As a man-manager and motivator, however, he has his doubters.
Phillips naming all three ‘great managers’ will leave Derby fans questioning his judgement. If he plans on using their methods at Sunderland, he surely wouldn’t last long there.