Wayne Rooney says his Derby future depends on takeover after Rams stun Fulham

The former England captain has been linked with the Burnley vacancy.

By Press Association Published: 16 April 2022 - 7.06am

Wayne Rooney helped delay Fulham’s bid to return to the Premier League and then admitted his future with Derby hinges on the proposed takeover of the club by American Chris Kirchner.

Derby denied Fulham the three points they required to guarantee promotion with a 2-1 win that kept alive their own distant hopes of staying in the Championship.

Earlier in the day, following the unexpected dismissal of Sean Dyche, the former England captain had seen himself linked with the vacant Burnley post but Rooney confirmed that he is more interested in discovering the fate of his current club and Kirchner’s proposed purchase.

“The last week has been really positive and whatever happens in these last few games, there have been some real positives,” he said.

“I can see a difference around the place, in the staff, they are starting to feel like this club has a future. You could sense that tonight with the fans.

“I was shocked today when Sean Dyche was sacked but to see my name linked is a compliment to me and the staff, as it was when we were linked with Everton, and what we’re doing here. My future depends on this takeover being completed.”

Fabio Carvalho’s first-half goal, turned in after 20 minutes following a one-two with Bobby Decordova-Reid, appeared to have Fulham well on course for the victory they needed to secure promotion.

But five minutes into the second half, the hosts equalised when teenager Luke Plange, signed by Crystal Palace but loaned back to Derby in January, turned in Lee Buchanan’s cross.

Then, with 17 minutes to go, Derby stunned the stuttering leaders by taking the lead when Plange pressured Tosin Adarabioyo into an own goal as he competed for a Tom Lawrence drive.

Derby secured an impressive win over Fulham
Derby secured an impressive win over Fulham (Zac Goodwin/PA)

It was a second-half collapse that left Fulham manager Marco Silva questioning his side’s toughness after they fell to a third defeat in five games.

“Tonight we had enough chances to win even with the mistakes,” said Silva. “We are being too soft in certain moments.

“We have not lost as many games as we have in the last five and that is back-to-back defeats for the first time this season. That is not a matter of focus.

“Tonight we needed to be more aggressive. We had to stop attacks with tactical fouls. We were not compact enough in certain moments but that wasn’t because of the pressure of the game.

“On Tuesday, we have to be sure to be focused from the first to the last. If we enjoy the challenge and express ourselves. We have to do many things different to the last two games.”

“I was shocked today when Sean Dyche was sacked but to see my name linked is a compliment to me and the staff, as it was when we were linked with Everton, and what we're doing here. My future depends on this takeover being completed”
- Wayne Rooney

Fulham, who may actually be promoted by other results on Monday, can definitely achieve their target when they host Preston on Tuesday.

But Silva refused to accept the pressure of the situation, or a passionate home crowd at Pride Park, as excuses for the loss.

“We knew before the match it would be emotional,” he said. “We knew what would happen with three points.

“Derby’s pressure is much tougher. Our pressure is the nicest pressure. If we want to play in the Premier League we have to deal with pressure in a different way.

“I congratulate Derby, it was a fantastic atmosphere. Fantastic for a club in a tough position.

“We have to recognise they have been really brave but the first half we were much better than them. Overall we deserved much more.”

For Derby, who have four games remaining and a nine-point gap to fourth-bottom Reading, there is no room for error and survival looks a long shot.

But with the club having been placed into administration, and deducted 21 points, their players have impressed Rooney with their attitude and character.

“That was my first message to them as manager,” said Rooney. “I got rid of a few players I had played with and I knew I needed a group of strong characters.

“In the good moments it’s easier to do that but when you go through tough moments you need those strong characters in the dressing room.

“With the young lads who have come through, it’s remarkable. They have been playing academy football and now some of them have been rushed into the first team.

“We worked a lot on developing them tactically, technically, as players. But we also worked on their mentality.

“I’m extremely proud of what they have achieved this season. Without the points deductions, we would be on 52 points and safe. And to do that with a group of academy players, mixed with some very good senior players, is remarkable.”

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