AFTER being earmarked as a key central midfield player, Kari Arnason has started Rotherham United’s first two league games in central defence.
Indeed, in the three games, league and cup, that Rotherham have played, Arnason’s time in midfield amounts to just 12 minutes because the opener at Hull in the Capital One Cup saw him switch to centre defence early on due to injury in the back line.
Manager Steve Evans says he most definitely signed Arnason for midfield.
“I’d love to have him in the middle of the park and that’s where I signed him to play,” said Evans.
“Having said that, if I was picking a team for my life then he’d be at the back which is where he plays for his country (Iceland).
“At Hull it was out of necessity whilst I looked at the Burton front two of Kee and Yussuf, saw on the DVD how well they’d played against Sheffield United the previous week and felt I wanted Kari to deal with them.
“He’d also been back to Iceland and played for them in midweek and he returned a little stiff and tired.”
Evans kept him in defence for the game at Northampton on Tuesday when it was going to be a totally different approach from the opposition and Arnason’s reading of the game and handling of things was excellent.
The Millers boss - who had tipped last Saturday’s opponents Burton to be challenging for a play-off place - said that he knew the first week would be a tough one. It ends at Chesterfield on Saturday.
“I never hid away from saying it would be tough and Tuesday was as physical as it gets which you expect against an Aidy Boothroyd side; it’s a battle,” he said.
“They are fancied but if that’s the benchmark then we’ll be up there too because we’re better than them.
“After the first 20 minutes, we had so much possession.”
Rotherham have been drawn at home to York City in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The tie will be on Tuesday, September 4 with the club looking at reducing admission prices.