Wayne Rooney is now under further scrutiny in Derby County after he reportedly injured one of his own players during a training session.
Derby boss Rooney, 35, is said to have tackled midfielder Jason Knight in an exhibition game, and the fallout has left his first-team star on the treatment table for up to 12 weeks.
The Telegraph have claimed that Rooney’s challenge was a ’50-50′ and just an accident, but the bizarre situation is especially damaging in light of the club’s woes en route to the new season.
Knight suffered the setback during Derby’s pre-season camp at Pennyhill Park, a luxury hotel and spa in Surrey, with Rooney himself taking part in the drill due to his lack of players.
In what has been an trying summer for the former Manchester United man, Rooney has just nine registered senior players on his books, and Knight’s absence has further thrown them into chaos.
On Tuesday, Sports post reported that the EFL has eased the club’s transfer embargo, allowing them to sign free agents on one-year contracts or put players on loan for six months if they have fewer than 23 players “of professional standing”.
Wayne Rooney faces more criticism in Derby County after he was revealed to have injured Jason Knight
Midfielder Knight (photo) is sidelined for up to 12 weeks after a tackle by Rooney in training
The incident between Rooney and Knight (pictured last season) has rocked the crisis-stricken club
This has become even more of a necessity now that Knight has been ruled out for an extended period, and comes after Rooney made an open call to the club’s board this weekend to add to his well-worn roster.
“It’s other people, over whom I have no control, who have to make bigger decisions,” Rooney said. “All I can do is try to bring some dignity and pride back to this club. Obviously that has disappeared in recent years and my job is to bring that back.
‘I need other people to do their job. It’s not ideal, it was very difficult not to know what my team will be in two weeks when the competition starts. Anyway, we have to sort that out.
‘If I’m honest, a manager in my situation would easily walk away. It’s a challenge for me, I’m a fighter. I am grateful to Derby for giving me this opportunity and I will do everything I can to help the club through this.
Rooney takes a session on Monday as the pressure mounts for the new season
Knight (given high-fiving Rooney) ‘will be a loss’, according to Rooney after the setback
“If we can’t bring in players in the next two weeks, I don’t know how to set up a team. I have not signed one central defender with the club, there are two very young players in the U23 and U18. It would be impossible for me to assemble a team.”
Asked about Knight’s injury following Derby’s 2-1 friendly loss to Salford, Rooney said: ‘Jason has been out for eight to 12 weeks. He shook his ankle. Fortunately, he doesn’t need surgery, but needs time to make sure his ankle gets strong again.
“Of course (it’s a huge blow), everyone knows what Knighty brings us, he’s a fantastic player, a lot of energy and he will be a loss, but we will have to deal with that.”
Rooney has been in the spotlight in recent days after a number of photos surfaced showing him sleeping in a hotel room with three 21-year-old women. He claims he has been blackmailed.
Rooney told police he had been blackmailed after photos emerged of him partying all night over the weekend (right), with one (left) showing him leaning against a blonde woman
Rooney, a father of four who has been married to childhood sweetheart Coleen since 2008, reportedly joined the group of girls in a room at the Staycity hotel after a night out, as claimed by the sun.
It is also revealed that he was interrogated by an officer after he told the police that there was a plot to blackmail him. MailOnline revealed that Rooney’s representative had made a formal complaint about the incident.
One of the images widely shared on social shows, Rooney leans towards a blonde woman in a Manchester nightclub, although there is no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the former footballer.
It’s clear the footage was taken on Saturday night, the first weekend nightclubs across England were allowed to open after coronavirus restrictions were eased by the government.
Model Tayler Ryan is pictured with ex-England football ace Rooney while they were partying
Wayne Rooney has been with childhood sweetheart Coleen for nearly two decades (pictured)
Rooney had been partying until the early hours after the loss to Salford, The Sun has reported, and the women involved were said to have been shocked to discover that the complaint had been filed.
The Telegraph says Derby officials have since spoken to Rooney at the club’s training base, and will not comment pending an investigation.
Derby kicks off their new championship campaign at home to Huddersfield on 7 August.