Rotherham United: Armband for humble Lee Frecklington as Steve Evans gets tough

Lee Frecklington
Lee Frecklington
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Manager Steve Evans has revealed the emotional moment when he offered Lee Frecklington the chance to be skipper of Rotherham United.

Midfield man Frecklington is part of Millers folklore after helping the club to two promotions and then playing his part in keeping them in the Championship last season.

Greg Halford

Greg Halford

And Evans revealed the 29-year-old was “almost tearful” as he accepted the role.

“Lee knows the club inside out. I am very pleased for the lad,” he said. “He has been with us through the League Two and League One days, and I know that this is something that will be right up there with his many achievements at the club.

“He’s a likeable young man but he will debate things with me.”

A hugely popular figure among fans and Rotherham’s longest-serving player, Frecklington was Evans’ choice after he decided to relieve utility man Greg Halford of the captaincy.

Steve Evans

Steve Evans

Halford had led the Millers since August 8 opening day, but Evans’ men went into the international break in bottom spot in the second tier after recording one point in their opening five matches.

The Millers manager believes fewer demands will help Halford improve his play after a faltering start to his Rotherham career.

“I had to make a tough decision,” Evans said. “Greg knows himself that he’s been in a poor run of personal form.

“The added burden of captaincy was affecting how he played. When I told him, I think he was relieved and pleased we were allowing him to get his own performance right.”

Evans admits he made a mistake by choosing Halford as skipper at the start of the season.

“With the benefit of hindsight, I have to accept I made the wrong decision,” he said. “I have never been afraid to make a decision or to indeed recognise when I have got something wrong. You can’t be stubborn and do nothing about it. That will never be something I am guilty of.”

Evans was unhappy with Halford’s display in the Millers’ last match, a 3-1 defeat against Fulham, when, playing at centre-half, he gave away a penalty which allowed the visitors to go 2-0 ahead.

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“I have had many conversations with Greg Halford about the captaincy,” he said. “I felt that if we freed him from the responsibility then he would have more time to work on his individual game, which would in turn benefit all parties.

“Greg has accepted the decision like a professional and knows that his experience is still a valued asset to this squad.”

Frecklington missed the Fulham game with a leg injury but is expected to be fit to return at the end of the international break a week tomorrow at Charlton Athletic.

Evans added: “Lee was very humbled to have been asked to lead the team and didn’t have to think twice before accepting.”

The Rotherham boss made three signings on Monday’s transfer deadline day to help revive the club’s fortunes, with goalkeeper Lee Camp, midfielder Tony Andreu and winger Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe all arriving at AESSEAL New York Stadium.