Wayne Rooney has apologised to his family and Derby County over images that surfaced online of him at a private party.
The pictures garnered attention on social media on Sunday, appearing to show the Derby County manager asleep in a hotel room surrounded by a group of young women.
Cheshire Police confirmed on Tuesday they would not be taking action against a complaint of blackmail made regarding the images, after Rooney’s representatives believed there had been an illicit attempt to entrap him.
“I made a mistake,” Rooney told Sky Sports News after his side’s friendly victory against Real Betis on Wednesday evening.
Wayne Rooney’s Derby County put their current problems to one side as they beat La Liga side Real Betis 1-0 in a pre-season friendly
“I went to a private party with two of my friends and from me, I’d like to apologise to my family and the club for the images which were going round and I want to move forward on this.
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- Rooney apologises to family over online images
“I’m grateful to Derby County for giving me this opportunity to get this club back to where it belongs, and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I do that.
“It’s dealt with. I’m looking forward to moving forward and preparing for another game on Sunday.”
Rooney spoke to Sky Sports News after his side's friendly against Real Betis on Wednesday
‘Training injuries happen due to intensity I demand’
It was the first time Rooney had addressed the media since his tackle in training ruled Derby midfielder Jason Knight out for up to three months.
Derby have only nine senior players registered with the club – two of those goalkeepers – less than two weeks before the start of the new Sky Bet Championship season, and so Rooney has been joining in with training to make up the numbers.
But the manager went in for a 50-50 challenge with Knight while the team were training at Pennyhill Park in Surrey last week, injuring the Republic of Ireland international’s ankle.
Rooney says his side desperately need players to come into the club in order to compete on a level playing field with other teams next season
Knight is a key absentee for Derby having played in all but three Championship games last season.
“With Jason, it was a training ground incident, which happens,” Rooney said. “I demand that the players train with a lot of intensity.
“Players get injured on the training pitch, unfortunately Jason did and I’m looking forward to having him back fit and ready for selection.
“That’s football. I demand that we train like we play, and if I put those demands on players, players will get injured.”
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‘We need help with signings’
Derby’s small squad is largely down the club having been placed under a transfer embargo by the EFL for financial breaches, with discussions ongoing over a relaxation of the restrictions.
Sky Sports News has been told Derby officials are currently in discussions with HMRC and the EFL and are hopeful new submissions of the club’s accounts will pacify the authorities and allow them to sign more players.
Reports have suggested that as things stand Derby are only able to make loan signings, which is preventing them from offering permanent contracts to players who have been on trial with the club during pre-season, such as Ravel Morrison and Phil Jagielka.
Phil Jagielka is one of several free agents who has been on trial at Derby
“We’re a little bit close to bringing players in… but still a bit off as well,” Rooney said.
“We need help – to bring these players in, otherwise we’re going to be in a very tricky position come next week.
Derby’s opening game of the Championship season is at home to Huddersfield on Saturday 7 August.
Asked if signing the five trialists that started in Wednesday’s friendly victory would help, Rooney added: “We need more. That’s nowhere near enough.
“There’s certain situations which I can’t really go into in detail, but we need that help to allow us to bring more players in, because if not we won’t be on a level playing field with the rest of the clubs and it will be very difficult for us.
“If we don’t get the players in, then including academy players, I’ve got a starting 11 and three to go on the bench.”
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