There are some players, even when they’re not around, who seem to demand the spotlight. Daniel Nardiello is one of those.
f he’s scoring goals, which is what he does best, then he sure does get the lights trained on him.
But even when he doesn’t score, has one of those lazy sort of days when nothing happens, he gets taken off and people wonder what was wrong with him.
When you’ve topped 20 goals in a promotion season (even though you played the full 90 minutes only seven times) then you have a place in fans’ affections.
So, when injury strikes and you’re not there, people are still talking about you and wondering when you’ll be back. Even though someone else has come in and nabbed your place.
Take the past week for example. Fit after a month out and he’s on the bench at Crawley. He’s back! Then he’s going to get his first outing in the reserves - except he’s stopped from doing because he becomes a dad.
Still, wouldn’t you just know it, he gets his season belatedly under way and marks that return (and the new arrival to the household) with a goal after just three minutes on the pitch.
If that wasn’t enough, he feels himself hard done by (and might well have been from what I saw) in a penalty area incident but ends up by having too much of a say and gets booked in stoppage time. Still peeved and unable to park any perceived injustice, he has another go at the ref after the final whistle and gets a second yellow, therefore a red and a night in with the missus and the baby next Wednesday instead of a trip to Villa Park.
Ignore him? One way or another, the one-time Man United talent can’t be ignored.
He’s certainly got a challenge for that striking spot alongside Alex Revell in the shape of Matt Tubbs, much coveted by Steve Evans whose persistence finally paid off in getting him on a six month loan.
Except Tubbs has shown only glimpses so far. He’d not had a pre-season and hadn’t kicked a ball until pitched in at Crewe 50 minutes into opening day. It’ll be September before he’s anything like, his manager suggested within minutes of his first appearance. It’s looking like it, so patience is required.
So, what happens? Nardiello, without a kick himself since his hamstring injury five weeks ago, suggests that goal instinct survives regardless of fitness levels and takes just three minutes to do what Tubbs hasn’t managed in near enough 300.
This looks like being an interesting one in the weeks ahead! That spotlight again!
Initially the spotlight was on the Millers. That’s because so many had heard so much that was good about the performance at Crawley. Yes, the Millers looked a good side there. Impressive.
They weren’t in this first 45 minutes. After Lee Frecklington had shimmered the side netting inside 45 seconds (with many fans celebrating thinking it had gone in) they managed to produce an almost polar opposite of their Crawley performance.
There seemed a lethargy about them. Clearly, a number of individuals were below par, unable to influence proceedings.
Even such as Messrs Morgan and Arnason - immaculate since they were thrown together at Crewe - got themselves in a tizz at times, not least when trying to cap the lively little Jon Taylor, a will o’ the wisp who was an almost unsolved problem throughout.
He nodded a 20th minute opener for Shrewsbury who, typical of a Graham Turner side, hardly looked world beaters but were organised, workmanlike and knew how to break things up and slow things down.
Rotherham, lacking any tempo, couldn’t get into a rhythm.
Boss Steve Evans said afterwards: “I was hoping for half-time after about 20 minutes.”
I would have volunteered to be a fly on the half-time dressing room wall except there would probably have been a danger of suffocation from peeling paint when Messrs Evans and Raynor got to work!
One felt the fans - particularly the 500-odd who’d been at Crawley - were stunned by the first 45 minutes. There had been nothing down the flanks, little creativity, no spark. Just glimpses.
It was nearly worse but Shearer tipped over Taylor’s rasping shot.
The second half improvement was underway by the time Scott Shearer superbly denied Tom Bradshaw to be instantly followed by Alex Revell’s superbly struck shot on the angle from a Tubbs pass.
But before Rotherham could get up a head of steam, Bradshaw had popped the visitors back in front after Shearer had saved Summerfield’s 20 yarder following yet another troublesome inroad weaved by Taylor.
Nardiello’s first involvement was to earn a free-kick wide left. His second was to get on the end of Ben Pringle’s free-kick, the header slipping through Weale’s hands and legs.
The keeper redeemed himself by turning wide Pringle’s fierce 22 yarder and Mark Bradley wasn’t far away from a Morgan knockdown.
This was the sort of game, from the sort of performance, they might have lost last season.
They were definitely off the pace although they picked up and improved second half but certainly needed to work smarter.
But, cutting through the disappointment at not getting a win they probably expected, they might reckon it a decent point under all the circumstances. Shrewsbury served a reminder that all League One points have to be earned with no gimmes this season.