Rotherham United: Why new boy Izzy Brown feels ready for Millers after Chelsea move
New boy Izzy Brown believes moving abroad as a youngster has equipped him for his Championship challenge with Rotherham United.
The Chelsea winger, still only 19, joined the Millers on a season-long this week after spending last season in Holland with Vitesse Arnhem.
And the teenager former Blues boss Jose Mourinho has tipped to one day play for England says he grew up in his year alone in a foreign country.
“It was good to move away from home at a young age,” he said. “It was difficult. I had to adapt to a different language and culture, but it made me a bigger and stronger man.
The forward, who Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs says has pace and power, trained with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday and is hoping to make his debut in this afternoon’s home clash with sixth-placed Brentford.
“To come into a new dressing room with grown men is difficult for a young boy,” Brown said. “But it is nice to be here, and the players have made me feel welcome.”
The England under-19 international considered a temporary switch to another club in the top flight but his desire for match action led him to AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“I had to consider what is best for me and my career,” he said. “I could have gone somewhere maybe in the lower Premier League or the top of the Championship where I knew would be difficult because it is hard to play games and a fight for your shirt.
“Even here, you have to fight for your shirt. But here I have more of a chance to play and show what I can do.
“The Championship is one of the hardest leagues in the world. All the stats show that you run the most. Because I am in England this year, it is a big place to show your potential. If you score 10 goals in the first half of the season, everyone will be talking about you.
“Game-time is the most important thing. You can train with as many top players as you want, but you want to be out there, scoring goals and making assists.”
Peterborough-born Brown knows how to fend for himself in unfamiliar territory, but that doesn’t mean his move north is entirely stress-free.
“I will probably have an initiation song on the first away game,” he grinned. “I know it is going to come. I can’t sing, but I will give it a go - probably a John Legend song.”
Happily, he’s far more confident about his talents on the pitch.
“Hopefully I will bring excitement to the fans. When I have the ball, hopefully they will think something is going to happen,” he said. “I want to be an exciting player and I will give everything for the club. I don’t worry about Chelsea now. I will give 110 per cent.
“I feel fitter than I probably have ever been. I played five games in the European Under-19 Championships with England in the summer and that was basically my pre-season. I am fully match-fit and have been training every day with Chelsea.
Brown has big ambitions but is remarkably grounded for someone who can include one of the world’s best bosses - Mourinho, now with Manchester United - in his fan club.
“I want to be a full international for my country,” he said. “I have supported Chelsea since I was a little boy, so playing for their first team regularly is always a dream. Everyone says they want to be a footballer, but only a select few have that chance - and I have, so I will give everything to be where I want to be.
“Jose was good with the things he used to say to me. He used to help me in training and talk to me. He’s a great manager, as you can see from all the trophies he won.
“I was a bit upset to see him leave as I knew he had high hopes for me, but that is part of football.
“Even when one of the best managers in the world says something nice about you, you still have to focus. I haven’t made it yet.”