Morgan Whittaker’s introduction into Phillip Cocu’s Derby County could have a huge impact on the future of Florian Jozefzoon.
The winger has fallen out of favour under the guideship of his fellow Dutchman and hasn’t recorded an appearance for the Rams since their crushing 3-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic in what was the new manager’s third 3-0 defeat of the season.
Part of Jozefzoon’s demise has been catalysed by Whittaker’s introduction and uprising. Since the England Under-19 international entered Cocu’s mind, Jozefzoon seems to have left it; the two have never played together.
Many believed that the signing from Brentford would thrive with Cocu who had previously managed Jozefzoon at PSV Eindhoven in which they won the league title.
Yet, the winger has made only six starts in all competitions this season, five more than Whittaker who has only recently come to fold.
Florian Jozefzoon has been utterly ineffective, hence Cocu rightly promoting Whittaker over his head.
It's disappointing that Holmes is still waiting for his first shot on target of the season and has only managed two shots in the box so far (his dribbling is an asset, though).
— Derby County Blog (@derbycountyblog) December 7, 2019
Instead, Whittaker has had to settle for a place amid the under-23 squad for the majority of the season so far, but he hasn’t let this affect him.
The 18-year-old’s statistics in the first team are already showing similar numbers to Jozefzoon who has played considerably more.
Now, there is an obvious difference in calibre between the two levels. However, in 149 minutes of first-team football, the youngster has managed three shots on target.
In 573 minutes of first-team football the Dutchman has managed one less shot on target. He has, though, recorded an assist; Whittaker is yet to record a goal contribution in his first five professional appearances, albeit often as a late substitute.
Brought in as one of Lampard’s permanent signings with Scott Malone and Jack Marriott, Jozefzoon has double the number of yellow cards as he has goal contributions so far this season.
With all the being said, it must be considered that Cocu has recently deployed a 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation, with wingbacks and narrow midfielders. Whittaker is a RW/CF and has never really endured any experience south of the final third of the pitch.
Whether this will stop Whittaker from earning a regular place in the first team remains to be seen.
Combined, Jozefzoon has scored three goals and recorded two assists in a total of 44 appearances for the Rams. Whittaker managed three goals and two assists in his four appearances in the UEFA Youth League campaign this season.
Whilst Whittaker’s lack in experience at the top level makes it hard to compare the two, it would seem as though the Derby supporters and indeed Cocu have made their decision already.