This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Derby County’s stuttering start to the season continued with defeat to Bristol City midweek, a result that leaves Phillip Cocu’s side in 14th place in the table after four rounds of Championship fixtures.
One positive for Cocu so far this season though, has been the form of 24-year-old striker Jack Marriott who has made three appearances from the bench so far this season, whilst also starting in the Carabao Cup win over Scunthorpe United.
Cocu is obviously a big fan of the young striker, suggesting at the post match press conference that Marriott is in contention for a start against West Brom next weekend and admitting he wanted to start him against the Robins, but he wasn’t fully fit after the midweek Scunthorpe game adding: “His mentality and drive is fantastic.,” as reported by FLW journalist George Harbey on Twitter.
So should Cocu be looking to make Marriott the focal point of his side?
“It is a difficult choice for Cocu to make but Marriott should be their lead striker moving forward, and if he brings him into the starting line-up Derby will improve as a result.
“The main reason for that is the goals Marriott will provide. His link up play may not be as good as Waghorn but he is a natural goalscorer and more likely to score chances created for him that Waghorn.
“Derby have a number of creative players so creating chances isn’t a problem for them, and as Marriott showed against Bristol City he can score out of nothing and plays on instinct, which makes him a different option in Derby’s attack.
“His pace and willingness to run in behind also makes him harder to defend against than Waghorn, and would allow Derby to adapt their style a little, as well as being more effective on the counter-attack.”
“Without a doubt.
“Marriott is a fantastic striker and he proved with his performances last season that he’s more than capable of scoring goals at this level.
“Marriott works tirelessly on the pitch and provides Derby with so much energy and intensity in attack. He offers something different to Martyn Waghorn with his pace, which should suit the way that Cocu will want Derby to play this season.
“Frank Lampard often went with Waghorn up front last season, but Marriott showed time and again that he’s good enough to make an impact in the Championship and only Harry Wilson scored more goals than he did for Derby last season.
“Marriott has always been able to make an impact in the big games and deserves a chance to be the main striker at Debry in my opinion.
“I’m expecting him to play an important role for the Rams under Cocu this term.”
“Yes, I think so.
“Marriott is a goalscorer, as he showed at both Luton Town and Peterborough United, and I think he is the best out-and-out striker in the squad.
“The 24-year-old is entering into his second season in the Championship with Derby and if he is given a regular run of start I think he could be a real threat this season.
“He also has the ability to produce something special, as he showed with his fantastic strike against Bristol City on Tuesday night.
“There appears to be an issue at the moment over his fitness but if he can sort that out I think he could play a key role this season.”