How Phil Jagielka and Richard Stearman may face Sheffield United next season, after 'trials' with crisis club Derby County
Former Sheffield United crowd favourites Richard Stearman and Phil Jagielka are reportedly training with Derby County and could feature against the Blades next season if they are signed by the Championship side.
According to reports, Derby have allowed both players to train with them in pre-season, although a deal for either or both may not be straightforward amidst their running battle with the EFL.
The league only recently accepted defeat in their bid to relegate Derby because of reported issues with their accounting policies and a soft transfer embargo, preventing Derby signing new players or offering new contracts to existing ones, remains in place.
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Boss Wayne Rooney needs to boost his small group of senior players, and according to The Sun has brought in Jagielka and Stearman on trial. Rooney and Jagielka were teammates with both England and Everton, while Stearman was released by Huddersfield at the end of last season.
A plan for Jagielka, who turns 39 not long after the start of the new season, to train with Bolton Wanderers was scuppered recently, with boss Ian Evatt admitting: “Jags asked me if he could come in pre-season and it was a yes, because I always like to help out good, experienced pros to try and stay in the game - it would have been just that.
“But then we got the media fanfare, the expectancy that fans seemed to have for signing that sort of player, it’s just no good for anybody.
“It’s certainly no good for the group, who we’re trying to hide from all the distractions and sideshows. We decided to move on.”