Report: Leeds owner Massimo Cellino states his reasons for selling Stephen Warnock

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has explained his decision to sell Derby County bound Stephen Warnock.

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has explained his decision to sell Stephen Warnock in an interview with The Sun.

Warnock has captained the side this season in Jason Pearce's absence, and was viewed as a regular before news of his impending move to Derby County was broken by The Yorkshire Evening Post on Sunday.

The deal is expected to be completed this week, and Cellino appears to have no regrets.

"Warnock asked me on Saturday for two more years of contract. I said ‘we will see at the end of the year’.

"When a player is 30, they will only get a year-by-year contract — that is my rule.

"He is older, lives in Liverpool and refused to move to Leeds — and is often complaining. So I am happy for him."

Warnock was reported by The Sun to be unhappy at Leeds earlier this season when he was dropped by then boss Darko Milanic, prompting the defender deny the claims in an interview with SkySports.

He since regained his place in the side under head coach Neil Redfearn, and has been captain until picking up a short-term ankle injury in late December, against Derby.

Cellino's comments regarding Warnock's refusal to move to Leeds are fascinating. The Italian owner told the BBC last July he wanted all his players to move to the city, explaining: "Next season I do not want one single player who lives outside of Leeds, no way. That is mandatory. Last year there were players who were coming late to games."

Warnock's apparent to reluctance to do so has clearly led to an uneasy relationship between the player and club owner, but the contract issue appears to have been the over-riding factor behind letting the 33-year-old depart.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch