WAYNE ROONEY is facing up to the ‘difficult’ prospect of having his best players sold off in January – knowing he can do nothing to stop it happening.
But he insists he would ‘never forgive himself’ if he walked out on his squad now.
Owner Mel Morris’ decision on Friday night that the Rams should go into administration has ‘shocked’ players and staff.
Rooney – already preparing for a nine point deduction from the club’s dispute with the EFL over financial irregularities – knows Derby will be hit with an extra 12 point penalty.
But the Rams boss now wants a new owner to step in quickly – otherwise there will be a fire sale in January which could see the Rams’ top players sold, with Rooney unable to buy replacements under a transfer embargo.
Rooney said: “We’ve got a few months to try and get some investors in.
“If we get to January, the administrators can sell my players and there’s nothing I can do about it. That’ll be very difficult, a hard one to take.”
Rooney has always said he will not walk away from the job – despite the latest development which appears to have been done behind his back.
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And he revealed why he is so committed to staying at Pride Park after a defiant win over Stoke with goals from Max Bird, celebrating his 21st birthday, and Curtis Davies – former Ram Tom Ince replied for promotion-chasing Stoke.
Rooney said: “I care.That’s for days like Saturday. If you don’t have those characters, you don’t get those performances.
“I’m enjoying that side of it. And I wouldn’t forgive myself if I walked out on those players, because I’m asking them to sacrifice a lot, and give everything.
“So for me to leave them in the lurch and walk out, that’s just not in my nature.
“But I put Saturday’s date up at the end of the team meeting, and I said to the players: ‘Today could be a big day in the club’s history. It’s on you to decide how the fans look back on this day’.
“I think the fans will look back and realise what a huge effort the players gave.
“I didn’t expect my first job to be like this. But, as a manager, you have to be ready for anything and adapt – most important are the people I work closely with at the club.”
Rooney says there have been no talks yet between himself and Morris.
The Manchester United and England legend said: “I haven’t had contact with him for a while now.
“I was going through Stephen Pearce the chief executive. But he couldn’t really give me any information because he didn’t know it himself.
“All I’ve done is be as open and honest as I can with the players and the press, with any information I knew, because I wanted to give the fans something.
“They deserve that. It’s been frustrating for everyone. It’s a sad time for the club, but we can rise from this.
“It was a tough evening on Friday. I sat down with my kids to watch the Newcastle game.
“Then to see the news just before the game, I knew it was going to be a long night. I spoke to my staff and my coaches, and we started planning for this morning, with the players, with the staff.”
Rooney addressed the prospect of players not being paid.
He said: “This is all new to me. I’m assuming the administrators will pay the salaries, and my job is to make this club look attractive
“Because it is a very attractive club. It’s a big club. And performances like this will only help.”
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