He couldn’t quite beat Lee Camp in the Rotherham United net, but then he wasn’t the only player to find that a tough ask in the Championship last season.
Jake Forster-Caskey crashed a thunderous long-range effort on to the bar and brought the best of the Millers’ Player of the Year with a stunning free-kick heading straight for the top corner.
That was in a loan spell with MK Dons. Now the Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder is with Rotherham and looking to show that the eye for an opportunity he demonstrated at stadiummk that April 9 day was no fluke.
“I give everything. I’m energetic and like to get around the pitch,” he told The Star. “I like to pass and keep the ball and break from midfield. I think I can add a few goals. It’s certainly something I’m working on.”
The 22-year-old former England U-21 international, who scored nine goals in 82 appearances for Albion, has joined the Millers on a season-long loan and has painful memories of the last time he faced his new employers.
It came during Rotherham’s 11-match unbeaten run which guarateed their second-tier survival when J F-C was part of the MK side blitzed 4-0 on a rainy spring afternoon as 3,000 red-and-white fans descended on Buckinghamshire.
“Rotherham were impressive,” he recalled. “We started on the attack, but they came straight back at us and, to be honest, I remember just feeling a bit overwhelmed.”
The boy can play and comes to AESSEAL New York Stadium with a good reputation despite falling out of favour under Chris Hughton at Brighton after being a leading light in the Seagulls’ march to the Championship play-offs under Oscar Garcia in 2013/2014 and playing regularly under Sami Hyypia.
He has no issues with Hughton but knows he had to move away from the Amex Stadium in the last year of his contract for the Championship action he craves.
“I would never criticise Chris,” he said. “He’s entitled to pick the team he wants, but it was clear that my chances of game-time were limited, and I’m the type of player who wants to play as much as he can.
“I’m a Rotherham player now and I’m going to get my head down and do my best for them. A loan move suits everyone.”
In Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs, Forster-Caskey will find a manager who appreciates the talent which made him an England regular through the age groups and saw him become Brighton’s youngest ever first-teamer 13 days after his 16th birthday in 2010.
“He is a very intelligent footballer,” Stubbs said. “He has a good range of passing and his pedigree speaks for itself.”
The respect is mutual.
“I had options to go elsewhere,” Forster-Caskey revealed. “But as soon as I spoke to the manager, this was the only place I was coming to. I liked his plans for the club and the attacking way he wants his team to play. It’s an exciting time.”