Steve Evans, the Rotherham United manager, has expressed his delight at capturing Richard Smallwood from Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old, a graduate of Boro’s youth system, has played 13 times for the Championship club this season. Evans said he has tracked Smallwood’s progress for several years and is “surprised” Boro have allowed him to leave.
“He is a very, very talented boy,” said Evans, who tried to sign him last year. “He’s an energetic, box-to-box central midfielder and he has always impressed us.
“I didn’t think the opportunity would come up to sign Richie but we asked again and then I went in a third time and we got the green light along with three or four other clubs. All the Managers then went off talking to the lad and his representatives and I’m very fortunate that he’s chosen us.”
Evans said Smallwood trained with his new teammates for the first time yesterday. The Redcar-born player is set to make his Millers debut against Crawley Town tomorrow.
He said: “In our pre-season game with Middlesbrough, Richard was the best player on the park. He was outstanding.”
Despite recruiting five new players in January, Evans admits he has not finished assembling his squad, saying: “We are probably a player, maybe two, away. We have made ourselves significantly stronger.”