Striker David Ball today became Rotherham United’s fourth signing of the summer as he signed a two-year deal with the Millers. Here’s the low-down on the 27-year-old who left Fleetwood Town to come to New York Stadium.
Ball joined Manchester City as a youngster in 2007 and became a star of the youth and reserve sides. He scored in the 2008 final of the FA Youth Cup, which City won by beating Chelsea 4-2, and was joint fifth top scorer in the 2008/09 Premier Reserve League and joint second top scorer the season after.
He moved from Peterborough United to Fleetwood Town five years ago when they won promotion to the Football League, but missed out on playing alongside future England striker Jamie Vardy who left the Trawlermen two months before he joined.
He’s is often referred to as an attacking midfielder but is a skilful striker known for his assists as much as his strike rate. He scored 49 times in just over 200 appearances for Fleetwood, and was on the mark 14 times last term as the League One side reached the play-offs. He has spent the last three seasons in the third tier.
He was nominated for the 2015 Puskas Award - FIFA’s World Goal of the Year prize - for his exquisite chip against Preston North End in November of that year, when other nominees included Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Juventus’ Carlos Tevez. The winner was Brazilian Wendell Lira for a goal scored for Goianesia.
The 27-year-old is from Whitefield, which is near Bury in Greater Manchester.
In April 2013, he scored at New York Stadium as the Millers beat Fleetwood 2-1 in League Two with goals from Daniel Nardiello and Kieran Agard. His last New York appearance came as a 113th-minute substitute for Town when Rotherham beat them 1-0 thanks to a Matt Derbyshire extra-time penalty in the Capital One Cup first round in August 2014.
He left City in 2011 without playing a first-team game, joining Peterborough for whom he made 14 starts and 31 substitute appearances, scoring 11 times. Before that, he had been on loan at Swindon Town, bagging three goals in eight starts and 12 games coming off the bench. While with Posh, he had two loan spells at Rochdale, scoring four times in 13 starts and two matches as a sub.
Fleetwood offered out-of-contract Ball a new deal but Rotherham had made him a priority target and pushed hard to land his signature.