WHEN Rob Milsom was taken off at Villa Park just under an hour into his full debut for Rotherham United, he sat down in the dug-out thinking he’d not done enough to impress his manager.
Otherwise, he reckopned, why would he have been taken off?
That turned out not to be the case. Steve Evans reckoned that Milsom may just have been starting to feel the pace in this first outing and, at 3-0 down against the Premier League side, it just might not get a deal easier.
Anyway, he had other things on his mind. The intention to start Milsom three days later at Notts County and so decided that rather than run the lad into the ground, he’d remove him from the fray while he was still relatively fresh.
“I wasn’t disappointed at all with his display at Villa, in fact, I thought he acquitted himself extremely well and looked comfortable in such company and in such an environment,” said Evans.
“In fact, his display there confirmed to me the good points I’d seen myself and which had been pointed out to me by people who’d watched him earlier in his career when he was at Fulham.
“Ray Lewington, now Roy Hodgson’s No 2 with England, had him at Fulham and he had no doubts about him. The lad, who has had a bit of trouble with injuries, went to Aberdeen and contacts in Scotland told me not to hesitate when I made the inquiries about him.”
So, last Saturday, Milsom followed up the Villa Park full debut with his first league start against Notts County. It’s fair to say that after a steady start, he developed into the game and was certainly an eye-catching part of it through the second half.
Not in a flamboyant way did he take the eye but rather with intelligent, thoughtful play and the sort of good technique, control and passing that had been in evidence at Villa Park.
He kept prompting and there were signs of a nice left-sided triumvirate with Joe Skarz and Ben Pringle.
Of course, that was just the start and he will hope he now carries on injury free after the series of niggling injuries which have previously struck him.
“Credit is due to our physio Denis Circuit for his work with him and the lad has shown he is prepared to work hard and shown he is such a good pro,” added Evans.
The Millers boss was effusive with his praise saying that if there’s been a better midfield performance in League One this season then he’s still to see it.
“Technically, he was a joy to watch,” he added.
Of course, the 26-year-old will aim to stay injury free and also hope to extend his stay because he has joined, initially, on contract until January. It was a deal aimed at showing if he can earn a place and play regularly.
Of course, his wasn’t the only major performance at Meadow Lane and it has to be said the home side were extremely fortunate they stayed in the game right to the end. It was Rotherham’s inability to finish off total second half dominance that kept the 1-0 win in the balance when the Millers, really, should have been out of sight.