European Super League: Wayne Rooney wants English 'pyramid' protected

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney played for Manchester United for 13 years between 2004 and 2017

Derby County boss Wayne Rooney has said "protecting the English football pyramid is the most important thing" after six Premier League clubs agreed to join a European Super League (ESL).

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 sides to have signed up to the proposals for a new midweek competition.

The English Football League said in a statement that the plans "attack the foundation of open and fair competition upon which our game is built".

Rooney, who is United's all-time top scorer, said he wanted the English pyramid to be "protected and rewarded" and called the timing of the announcement "strange".

"The people in charge of these clubs are not stupid. We'll have to wait to see what the plans are," he said.

"I don't think it would be a great look to pull away from cup competitions but let's see what the proposals are."

The plans have been met with widespread condemnation from governing bodies, current and former players, and supporters' groups.

The EFL said it was "ironic that proposals which would serve to destroy the value of sporting merit were announced on the weekend of the League's 133rd anniversary".

It added: "A strong pyramid based on promotion, relegation and ultimately European qualification is fundamental to our game's continued success.

"The EFL opposes any reform that doesn't support competition, integrity or offer clubs the prospect of one day competing at the highest end of the game."

Supporters' groups from the six English clubs involved in the plans have all spoken out against the idea of the ESL.

Rooney played for Manchester United between 2004 and 2017 and said he did not think the clubs would wish to proceed with anything that would "jeopardise their relationship with the fans".

"I can speak from being at Manchester United for such a long time. The last thing they would want to do would be to jeopardise their relationship with the fans," he added.

"I know that for a fact. Everything they do is to try and move the club forward.

"They would want to keep them (fans) involved. Let's see what the proposals are when they come out."

Dion Dublin & Danny Murphy discuss the plans for a European Super League
Around the BBC - SoundsAround the BBC footer - Sounds