Derby County appoint Paul Warne as new head coach after the club comes under new management

Credit: PA/ITV News Central

Liam Rosenior's love of Derby County was obvious. As a player he had never played for the club, let alone one in the East Midlands but his affection for the city and fanbase radiated off him.

Having joined as a coach under Philip Cocu in 2019 he stayed with the club quite literally through thick and thin. He suffered with fans and Manager Wayne Rooney when points were being deducted and kept a cool head when the future of the Rams was hanging by a thread. 

When Rooney left, he stayed and became Interim Manager. Sadly for him, that title never changed. He may have learnt that even a club like Derby who will be forever grateful for his efforts have ambitions that stretch beyond loyalty. 

Liam Rosenior

Herein lies the issue.

Derby are no longer the struggling club they were in the winter and spring.

Summer brought with it optimism and a new owner in David Clowes. In came a steady stream of signings with the expectation that with Pride Park secure and the future of the club safe, an immediate return to the Championship was the priority. 

During his first press conference of the season back in July, I asked Liam what would make a successful season.

He told me that the history of the football club meant it was 'play offs minimum'.

Right now Derby is outside of those places purely on goal difference but there's a big seven-point gap already between themselves and Ipswich at the top.

The play offs are a lottery and in removing Rosenior and choosing Paul Warne, the hierarchy has made it clear that scraping inside the play offs isn't good enough. 

Credit: Derby County Football Club

So who is Paul Warne and why is Derby so convinced he's the right man for the job?

Well when it comes to getting promotion from League One, there are few better qualified.

He left Rotherham where he spent almost six years as the man in charge, including a stint as caretaker. He's won promotion with the Millers three times from this Division and although he's tasted subsequent relegation from the Championship, the feeling has always been that his achievements were notable.

This season in the Championship they have started well and sit 8th. 

Next week at his first press conference we will find out why he chose to leave a job he knows well and one that he's had success in. My first thoughts are that the pull and potential of a giant in League One, such as Derby, was too tempting to turn down.

If he gets it right, Derby will be back in the Championship soon enough and with the correct structure in place, perhaps he can be the one to lead a Premier League promotion push.But I'm getting ahead of myself. In the short term, his job will be to make the players understand how to play 'League One football' effectively.

It may not be pretty, but a more direct style of play could be necessary to navigate a tough league with six other former Premier League clubs all eyeing up promotion. 

The club have shown significant faith by giving him a deal until Summer 2026, though fans will of course remain divided at first. After being in the news pretty much constantly last season (I should know having stood in the car park reporting more times than I can remember), they wanted smooth sailing and fewer off-the-field headlines.

Well, they may have to swallow another one to taste the champagne moment of promotion. Everything about Warne's history and experience says he's the right man for the role. Indeed in their statement, Derby said that his ability and experience were "two factors which will be vital in this pivotal season for Derby County."

It is a long season though and making the decision now will allow Warne to mould a side that looks like it's still finding its feet in League One. Once again, we find ourselves glued to developments at Pride Park.

Back to that first pre-season press conference. I asked Rosenior what he needed to do to turn his interim position into a permanent one.

"Like every other manager in football, I need to win matches...but there are no guarantees in football". He knew of the risk but will no doubt regret he wasn't given more time. Now Warne has to prove he's the man to win matches that guarantee promotion.