Straight-talking boss Paul Warne has cast doubt over Dominic Ball’s Rotherham United future after describing the utility player’s first year with the Millers as “a waste of a season”.
The manager says moving could be in the player’s best interests if he wants to secure regular first-team action.
Warne delivered his blunt message to the 21-year-old at the end of last season after Rotherham had suffered relegation from the Championship.
Ball, signed from Spurs on a three-year-deal last summer by previous boss Alan Stubbs, figured in 13 league matches before going out on loan to League One Peterborough United who sent him back to New York Stadium early when he clashed with Posh manager Grant McCann.
“I asked him what he thought of his season,” Warne told The Star. “He said he thought it was all right. I said I thought it was horrendous. If I had had his season, I would have thought it was a waste of a season really.
“I also said to him, if he wants guaranteed football his future might be elsewhere.”
Warne picked Ball at centre-half for his first match in charge, at Burton Albion in December, but the youngster was given a torrid afternoon in a 2-1 defeat by Rotherham old boy Chris O’Grady and didn’t feature for the Millers again.
He moved to Posh in January and initially impressed at the heart of their defence, but a row with McGann when he was asked to play at full-back brought his stay at London Road to a premature end.
Technically, his loan spell didn’t expire until the the 2016/17 campaign was over, so he was in limbo from February onwards and unable to feature for either club.
“It (his season) was a little bit through his own fault, a little bit not,” Warne said. “I expect him to come back pre-season and we’ll take it from there.”
Ball operated on occasion as a defensive midfielder for Rotherham but sees himself as a central defender. However, Warne, who likes the player’s desire to improve, doesn’t appear to agree.
“I spoke to him,” Warne said. “I said to him, if he wants to be a centre-half ... I told him where his weaknesses were. If he comes back and competes, he could potentially be right-back cover.