Wayne Rooney makes a worrying revelation as Derby County issue a plea to the EFL ahead of the upcoming 2021/22 Championship season.
The Rams boss has revealed that Derby will start the without a centre-back unless their transfer ban is lifted.
The sanction has been imposed on the club due to financial issues facing the club, with an ongoing EFL case requiring that fresh accounts be submitted next month.
Rooney’s side started their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 defeat to his former club, Manchester United, on Sunday and admitted his fears over the size of his squad after the game.
“I just want a team to put out on the first day of the season,” Rooney said.
“Something has to happen. If you look at my squad, if nothing changes I have not got one centre-back.
“In order for us to compete in this league, something has to change.”
Martyn Waghorn was one of several Derby players who decided to leave Pride Park after their contracts expired, and it has left the club with just nine remaining players include two goalkeepers, while out-of-contract duo Ravel Morrison and Phil Jagielka have been on trial with the Rams and were given a run out in the friendly.
“It’s a challenge and it is not ideal,” Rooney admitted.
“I am constantly trying to get answers but I am still not getting what I want and what the club wants. I am truthfully not 100 per cent sure of the ins and outs.
“I will do my best for this football club but I need help and support. I believe that support will come. I could do with it now.”
Furious Derby supporters have demanded that the financially-troubled club show proof they have the funds to complete the forthcoming season in the hope that they can avoid entering administration.
The Rams, who are managed by former England captain, avoided relegation from the Championship on the final day of the last campaign but have endured a turbulent summer, with no takeover bid close to completion and owner Mel Morris determined to sell the club.
In a letter to the directors, members of the Derby Supporters’ Trust have asked: ‘Are the Directors able to confirm that there is funding in place to ensure the club can complete the forthcoming season?
‘Can you confirm that all outstanding debts to HMRC can be covered, so there is no danger of administration before the end of the forthcoming season?
‘We understand negotiations are in progress for a potential takeover, but as yet there has been no application for transfer of either (stadium) Pride Park or (training ground) Moor Farm, so this cannot be completed before the season begins.
‘We understand that further information on the takeover can’t be given until a deal is agreed with credible investors, but we would urge the club to keep supporters informed as much as possible.
‘You will understand that supporters are both upset and frustrated at the continual lack of communication from the club, It is at the point where the failure to keep promises about this is now unacceptable with no respect for your customers and supporters.’
Derby initially faced the prospect of relegation to League One due to EFL concerns about their finances, with the governing body even publishing fixture lists featuring both Derby and Wycombe – who would have stayed up if Derby had been docked points.
However the League have not pursued that course and they will start the campaign in the second tier.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has launched a strong defence of Ravel Morrison who claims is “misunderstood” in the wake of brutal criticism Simon Jordan aimed at him and the Derby new boy.
😳 “Ravel is 28, had 12 clubs in 11 years and played 98 games…”
🚫 “He doesn’t stay anywhere because nobody wants him to stay there!”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 14, 2021
The former Manchester United youngster was released by Dutch side ADO Den Haag in January, and now Rooney has handed him a lifeline
Morrison’s journeyman career has drawn plenty of criticism with Simon Jordan saying on talkSPORT: “I don’t think the penny has dropped. If it hasn’t dropped at 28, or 26, it’s never going to drop.”
“I think with Ravel, he’s very misunderstood,” Rooney said after the game. “His ability is clear for everyone to see.
“Since he’s been with us, the standards in training have gone up. There are things he does on and off the ball that I can recognise immediately. That’s where he’s brought the levels up in training.
“He showed some nice touches on the pitch against United but we need to remember he hasn’t played for a very, very long time. So it was natural that physically he was going to tire.”
Jordan did claim during his rant on Morrison that plenty of players are capable of performing on the training ground, but translating that onto the pitch is a different story.
He said: “He doesn’t stay anywhere and, the reason why he doesn’t stay anywhere, is because nobody wants him to stay there. So why is this going to be any different?
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the world is full of incredibly talented footballers that can only leave it on the training ground.”
Jordan questioned the 35-year-old managerial credentials and claimed his status would only carry him for so long.
“The manager, to me, is clueless,” he said. “Every single player of stature can go into a dressing room and have influence if they take the managerial reigns for a period of time.
“When Rooney came in, because of the enigma and stuff that goes with him they get this bump.
“But 12 games before the end of the season, when you need a manager who knows what they are doing, you cannot buy a worse run than they went on under Rooney.”
Fans reacted after Wayne Rooney makes a worrying revelation as Derby County issue a plea to the EFL…
— Lee W1875 🏴⚽️ (@LeeW1875) July 20, 2021
— Peter Tooze (@toozie9) July 20, 2021
— Adam Martin (@adamski80mfc) July 20, 2021
Fuck em pic.twitter.com/9sMaVWVLFR
— Birm1875DFLDAVE (@Davrosf1atlee) July 20, 2021
This club is an absolute shambles. Two weeks ago Stephen Pearce said we have enough to operate with and aren’t in a rush to fill the squad. Disgusting. The club is absolutely fucked. https://t.co/o66jgjXeVn pic.twitter.com/A7lNCYYzrz
— Tom McCoy (@tommccoy87) July 18, 2021
@NeilCarter82: At least they’ve got an experienced manager to guide them through this difficult period 😅
@MrWayneGarton: I feel a little bit sorry for Rooney in the situation that he is in, 9 senior players left on contracts, but don’t they still have an academy or an under 23 squad? Time to blood the youth, tbh couldn’t do much worse than the senior pros did last season
@KSquires37: Right now as it stands he would get a chance as a manager somewhere else as not too much damage has been done. I’d walk if I was him if he doesn’t get any backing or movement. I think he will do well if he gets the support but Mel has ruined my club and its reputation.
@SeanFuery: Would like us to Sign Ravel Morrison and Jagielka just for the crack.
@SamCoxon6: Rotherham cancelled games due to covid. Our whole squad was self isolating. We had to play a u23s team in the fa Cup now there classed as first team player. EFL should lift it so we can get a team together.
@mickyh01: There wasn’t as much fuss made when other clubs had same prob. They got themselves into this mess with their fans saying Mel knew his way around FFP ect …even the Rooney signing was ridiculous money wise. Time to pay now
@ekulkun: Feels pretty ominous for Derby. Fucked financially, only 9 contracted players, a manager who has no idea how to navigate this kind of situation and possible points deduction. Feels like it would take a miracle to keep them up.
@gazbcfc25: Good take your punishment like we have
@meandonlyme67: Ah this Karma is a pleasant thing
@Coops_011287: I’m close to giving up hope unless the @EFL allow us to sign free transfers 🙏
@thosenutz69: you can have Mengi on loan again if you promise to take Phil Jones
@totaldcfc: All these jokers in here saying you can have Phil Jones. Lads, we literally can’t sign anyone.