Rotherham United: Austin seal of approval proves worth of Millers boss Warnock

Text messages from a Premier League star show the loyalty new Rotherham United boss Neil Warnock can inspire in his players, says managerial partner Kevin Blackwell.

Tuesday, 16th February 2016, 11:00 pm
Kevin Blackwell

The duo took charge at AESSEAL New York Stadium last week and one of the first people to contact them was Southampton striker Charlie Austin who had played under them at QPR.

“Neil has always had the ability to engender a team spirit and work ethic among his players and most of the players really care for him. That’s all you can ask as a manager,” Blackwell said.

Charlie Austin

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“When we came up here, Charlie Austin sent us both a message, and players don’t do that if they don’t care. Neil has the ability to engender that.”

After last Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Birmingham City in their first match at the helm, the pair, who worked together at Sheffield United, now have 15 games to keep the third-bottom Millers in the Championship.

Warnock will use his renowned motivational skills in a bid to revive Rotherham’s fortunes while Blackwell’s main role will be on the training ground.

“Neil has always been terrific around the place,” Blackwell added. “His man-management is first class and he knows when people’s strengths are somewhere else.

Neil Warnock and Kevin Blackwell

“I have been particularly strong as a coach throughout my career, and that is how it works. Neither of us are afraid to say what we feel and when there is a decision to be made we make it immediately. Neil respects that I am strong enough to voice an opinion.”

Blackwell has been a boss in his own right in the past and believes Rotherham will benefit from the double dose of football wisdom he and Warnock bring to the table.

“It’s a squad that just needs some help really,” he said, “Myself and Neil have got a lot of experience in the Championship.

“At the end of the day, it’s very unusual to have two managers. To come back with him was really easy. We’ve both got that passion to win.

Charlie Austin

“It’s going to be a tough challenge but life is about challenges and whether you have got the courage to take those challenges on. Both Neil and myself have got very good records as managers so we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Blackwell has been putting the players through their paces this week at the club’s Roundwood training complex ahead of Saturday’s trip to high-flying Burnley.

“It’s always nice to be taking charge on the training ground,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for 30-35 years, so it’s great.”

Neil Warnock and Kevin Blackwell