Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has rebuffed claims that Steve McClaren has been marginalised from first-team decision-making process in recent weeks.
The Telegraph published an article on Friday afternoon claiming that McClaren has been frozen out by Rooney and his first-team coaching staff.
McClaren rejoined Derby in November, becoming an advisor to the board as well as acting as Technical Director, as Derventio Holdings looked to acquire the club.
He was seen close to the dugout in a defeat to Middlesbrough which was technically Rooney’s first game in charge of the Rams, but hasn’t been seen too often since.
But it has recently been claimed that he has been frozen out and hasn’t been heavily involved in first-team decision making at all.
But speaking to BBC Radio Derby (16:32) after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon, Rooney rebuffed those claims.
He said: “Steve came in as a Technical Director. The team selection is mine. The training sessions are mine to make. Steve has never had any input in the training sessions we do or the team we select.
“He’s very important to us. I get advice from Steve on a load of things, so I think the article is a load of rubbish.”
Derby have now lost five on the bounce and have won only one of their last 13 games, and they sit four points clear of the drop with two games remaining. Rotherham United have two games in hand, though.
McClaren’s return was a surprise one and it was always seen as help for Rooney.
But it is slightly bizarre that an inexperience boss in Rooney has seemingly not chosen to take McClaren’s advice, with Derby staring relegation square in the face.
If they do go down this season, then a load of questions need to be asked about their off-field status, as it has been a shambles of a campaign on and off the pitch.