Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has landed himself in hot water at the Championship club after injuring midfielder Jason Knight with a full-blooded tackle during a training session, according to reports. The former Manchester United and England forward is currently gearing up for his first full season in charge of the Rams, who stayed up by a hair’s width on the final day of the previous campaign.
Rooney assumed the managerial role on a permanent basis in January, with Derby languishing in the drop zone and in need of a rapid resurgence in order to retain their second-tier status.
The 35-year-old went on to complete the great escape by keeping the two-time English champions in the division with a crucial victory over Sheffield Wednesday in their final outing.
However, Rooney appears to be facing a much tougher job this time around due to the club’s ongoing legal battle with the EFL.
He has only been able to register nine senior players for the campaign ahead, and with Derby’s summer business heavily restricted by a transfer embargo, the prospect of Championship survival looks to be nothing more than a pie in the sky.
Rooney’s involvement in a bizarre training ground mishap with Knight only appears to have caused further damage to the club’s faltering hopes of avoiding relegation.
The latter is set to be sidelined for around 12 weeks as he recovers from the ankle injury sustained while on the receiving end of a hefty tackle from England’s record goalscorer, according to The Telegraph.
It is claimed that Rooney and Knight went in for a ’50-50′ challenge that ultimately rendered the 20-year-old unable to feature for at least another two months.
The incident is said to have occurred at Derby’s training base in Surrey, with Rooney taking part in sessions to make up the numbers.
The Rams continued their run of pre-season friendlies on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of League Two side Salford City.
Rooney addressed Knight’s absence in his post-match interview by declaring that the Republic of Ireland international will be sorely missed once the Championship season gets underway next month.
“Jason will be out for eight to 12 weeks, he has rocked his ankle,” explained the Derby boss.
“Thankfully he doesn’t need surgery, but he needs the time to make sure he gets his ankle strong again. Of course [it is a disappointing loss].
“Everyone knows what Knighty brings to us. He is a fantastic player, great energy, and he will be a loss, but we have to deal with that.”
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Rooney’s latest misadventure will serve as another testing blow after a turbulent week on all fronts for the United legend.
He found himself at the centre of a social media storm over the weekend after a series of widely-shared photos appeared to show him asleep while in the company of a group of young women.
A police investigation is currently ongoing, with the matter having been reported after the images in question were circulated on Twitter and other platforms. It is not known when they were taken.
Derby will refrain from publicly addressing the situation until it has been resolved by the relevant authorities, although there is nothing to suggest that Rooney was behaving inappropriately, while his lawyers have also declined to comment.