Rival boss makes surprise Sheffield Wednesday admission after major transfer snub

“You have to appreciate in football that there is a pecking order.”

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 8:59 am

That’s the honest admission of Rotherham United manager and renowned class act Paul Warne, who speaking after his side’s friendly defeat against Middlesbrough spoke about the decision by his former player Lewis Wing to choose Sheffield Wednesday over the Millers.

Warne had earlier said it was unlikely the midfielder would drop into League One having enjoyed stellar seasons in the Championship for first Boro and then Rotherham.

“I thought he had everything - two great feet, a great attitude to win, desire, excellent passing,” he said. “He made a massive difference for us.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Darren Moore shakes the hand of Paul Warne after a South Yorkshire derby last season.

“It wasn’t a surprise he went to Sheffield Wednesday because I know how football is. We were lucky to get him on loan last year.

“He drops down to League One this year, but Sheffield Wednesday maybe able to contribute much greater than we were able to.

“In fairness to the lad, he has no allegiance to us to come back here and Sheffield Wednesday is a bigger club. I would imagine he sees that as a bigger test for his career, truth be told.”

Wing impressed on his Owls debut in their EFL Cup penalty defeat to Huddersfield Town and is expected to start their League One opener at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

Wednesday faced competition from a number of clubs – including some from the second tier – for the 26-year-old, who signed a one-year contract extension with Boro before his Hillsborough switch was signed off.

Warne went on: “I’m not offended at all. I thanked him for what he did here and when I heard he went to Sheffield Wednesday I left him a voicemail wishing him all the best and saying as long as he doesn’t score against us it’s fine!

“But you have to appreciate in football that there is a pecking order and we were lucky to play a part in his career last season.

“I’d tried to sign him on three other occasions and I’ll always follow him. I’m sure if he scores for Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday he’ll get a text off virtually the whole dressing room.

“We’re sad, but we do understand.”