Wayne Rooney was forced to watch Derby’s Championship clash with Coventry at home after catching a cold, with assistant manager Liam Rosenior deputising in his absence
The Manchester United legend is suffering with a cold and assistant manager Liam Rosenior was forced to lead the struggling side.
Rooney had to watch his team from home as a late Graeme Shinnie goal rescued a point for the cash-strapped club.
Rosenior told Derby’s website after the game: “We were in constant communication with him [Rooney] throughout the game.
“It was doctors’ orders to stay away and it’s not Covid, he’s just ill and with the squad we’ve got and a few bugs going around, we need to keep everyone as fit as possible.
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“It sums up the manager that he would rather sacrifice himself for a game to not spread it to the rest of us and I hope he gets better as soon as possible.
“He’s a huge presence, he gives us belief and confidence as a staff and players and the sooner he gets better, the better it is for us.”
Derby are currently bottom of the Championship after being deducted 12 points for entering administration last month.
Despite their financial troubles, Rooney has built a strong team on a shoestring budget – signing the likes of Phil Jagielka, Ravel Morrison and Richard Stearman.
Derby have suffered just three league defeats all season – the same amount as third-place Fulham – and would be mid-table without their penalty.
Rooney, meanwhile, is being linked with the vacant job at St James’ Park following Steve Bruce’s departure on Wednesday.
Newcastle were recently taken over by a Saudi-led consortium and the new chiefs are looking to make their first managerial appointment.
And after impressing at Derby with limited resources, many are tipping the former England captain to take on a bigger job in the near future.
But Rooney has distanced himself from the rumours and insists he’s had no contact with Newcastle since Bruce said goodbye.
He said: “From my point of view I cannot stop speculation, I get that.
“But I have had no contact at all with Newcastle United and obviously, as I have stated before, I am committed to this football club.”
Rooney has been praised by several pundits, including former Premier League midfielder Shaun Derry, for his conduct during Derby’s crisis.
Derry said last month: “One thing that Wayne Rooney was throughout his career, as well as a top, top player, was an incredible character and a personality that never gave in.
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“It’s a really young squad over at Derby and they’ve encountered a lot of difficulties. This is a different type of challenge.
“It would have been easy for Wayne to leave, no doubt, he doesn’t need the money. A lot of managers would have left and searched for that next role.
“Hats off to him. I think he’s made a really bold call by staying at the football club because a lot of people would have left.”
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