Curtis Davies is excited to tap in to Phillip Cocu’s knowledge and soak up everything there is to learn from the new manager.
The Derby County captain, and his team-mates, met Cocu on Thursday night after arriving in Florida for the Rams’ pre-season training camp shortly.
After a brief introduction, the Rams’ players were given the chance to rest up after a long day of travelling before Cocu’s appointment was officially confirmed on Friday morning.
The squad arrived at the IMG Academy a few hours later to kick-off the pre-season training camp under the blazing Sarasota sunshine and Davies said he couldn’t wait to get to work with the new boss.
“We have to adapt to the new manager and likewise he has to see what we have got in order to get the best out of us, but it is exciting,” Davies told RamsTV.
“I’m looking forward to football in general having been injured last year but it’s a fresh start for everyone. A new season is coming up and it’s only around the corner.
“These training camps, and when the games come about, they come about thick and fast so we need to be ready for it.”
The defender may be coming up to completing two decades worth of pre-season’s, but he sees the appointment of Cocu as an invaluable chance to learn and get better both individually and as a team.
The Dutchman has a glittering record, reaching the very top as a player for club and country and the success as a manager, Davies believes, speaks for itself having guided PSV Eindhoven to three Eredivisie titles.
Davies also understands that the arrival of Cocu offers an opportunity to impress and push each other on to fight for places in the team whether that is the younger players who have travelled on their first senior pre-season camp or the senior professionals, like himself.
“He had a great career as a player at Barcelona and over 100 times for Holland and he’s had a good managerial career too,” Davies said.
“When you have a manager of that ilk as a player, you want to tap into every single thing that they’ve got.
“If you can learn anything, even at my age, then I will. I will be encouraging all the young lads to take every single thing on board because ultimately, he made it to the top of the game and these young lads will want to do the same.
“It’s a new manager, a new opportunity for everyone and we are all fighting for our places.”
The 10-day long camp provides the perfect environment for the players and new staff to get to know each other both on and off the pitch.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, Davies expects their will be a balance of Cocu injecting his style into the team with the hard work that comes with getting into shape for the start of the season.
“As the week goes on there will be more conversations and more of an idea of what the manager wants us to do,” the 34-year-old said.
“I imagine he is going to want to observe a bit, but he is also going to want to get his stamp on early because the season is only a month around the corner.
“I would guess it is going to be a lot of passing drills and different things to see what people have got, but it is going to be hard work because ultimately you aren’t lucky enough in pre-season to just have a ball out and take it easy, you are going to have to do some running and hard work.”
He added: “He’s won the Eredivisie with PSV and we are looking forward to seeing what he wants to do.”