Rotherham United: Young and old in Millers mix for Neil Redfearn

Stephen Kelly
Stephen Kelly
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Manager Neil Redfearn has targeted a mix of youth and experience as he bids to find a winning blend with Rotherham United.

The Millers boss is famed for his past work with youngsters at Leeds United and has a clutch of players at AESSEAL New York Stadium under 22.

Leon Best

Leon Best

But he snapped up former Newcastle United striker Leon Best, aged 29, this week and could add two other players with long Premier league backgrounds to his squad before the end of the international break.

He believes a combination of fresh-faced energy and old heads is the way to lift the club off the bottom of the Championship table.

“It’s about getting the right balance,” he said.

Right-back Stephen Kelly, 32, and attacking midfielder Stephen Hunt, 34, both free agents, have been training with Rotherham and may be offered deals ahead of Saturday’s clash with Leeds, now managed by ex-Millers boss Steve Evans.

Neil Redfearn

Neil Redfearn

“We need that little bit more quality and that little bit more experience so, when we do have our youth and legs in there, there’s a balance,” Redfearn said. “I think this is what I’ve got to try to put in place.”

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The new man has been in charge for six matches and has already signed Norwich City left-back Harry Toffolo, 20, and Manchester City winger Brandon Barker, 19, on loan.

He is banking on his reputation helping attract more young talent to the Millers further down the line.

Prospects like Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook and Charlie Taylor all flourished under him in the Leeds first team last season when he was made head coach, having first been under his tutelage in the West Yorkshire giants’ academy.

“I think that’s the thing clubs will look at,” Redfearn said. “I put a lot of the kids in at Leeds and they thrived.

“With my background being in that area, I know a lot of the kids are the circuit already. I’ve come across them. It’s been easy for me to identify them.

“But it’s about getting the right ones in, and, once you get the right ones in, giving them their head.”

Left winger Aidy White has joined League One Barnsley on loan until January 3 after failing to make an impact so far this season.