Leeds United: Warnock denies ‘PFA complaint’ claim

Stephen Warnock
Stephen Warnock
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Leeds United left-back Stephen Warnock insists he is happy at Elland Road and has denied claims that he complained to the Professional Footballers’ Association over his recent omission from the club’s starting line-up.

The former England international moved to play down talk of a rift between him and owner Massimo Cellino following speculation about the reasons for his sudden absence from United’s team.

Warnock was a reliable fixture in the side for the first two months of the season but lost his place after a 2-0 defeat to Brentford on September 27.

Cellino, who watched the fixture at Griffin Park from the away end, was heard criticising Warnock’s performance in London, leading to question about whether the Italian was influencing team selection at Elland Road.

Reports last week suggested that Warnock had lodged a formal complaint with the PFA after sitting on the bench during draws with Reading and Sheffield Wednesday but though he and Cellino spoke in the aftermath of those matches, the defender denied seeking the union’s help.

Warnock said: “A lot’s been made about it but I’m very happy. I’ve been playing but in the last two games I haven’t been in the team. That happens in football, it’s part and parcel of it.

“A lot of people have made a bit too much of things. I’m very happy at the club.

“A couple of people have put things together and got the wrong answer. My agent’s from the PFA and maybe lines got crossed.”

Milanic used centre-back Liam Cooper on the left side of defence in a 0-0 draw with Reading and opted to play right-back Gaetano Berardi during a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

But the Slovenian, who was appointed by Cellino ahead of the clash at Brentford, said he was in full control of team affairs, saying: “That is not the job of Mr Cellino.

“If you have a president like our president and one with such experience in football then it’s normal that people or (the media) talk about this. I have no problem with this, it is my decision.”

Signs of discontent were evident in a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in August when Warnock reacted to scoring the only goal by pretending to talk into a telephone and signalling in jest for a substitution to be made.

His celebration appeared to relate to claims that Cellino attempted to instigate his substitution during a previous clash away at Watford with a phone call to the bench.

Kemar Roofe celebrates scoring Leeds United's equaliser.
Leeds United v Newport County.  Carabao Cup, second round.  Elland Road.
22 August 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson

RECAP: Leeds United 5 Newport County 1: How Whites dismantled League Two opponents at Elland Road