He’s played only two competitive matches for hiew new club, but Joe Newell has already done enough to reinforce Steve Evans’ view that Rotherham United have a major talent on their hands.
Despite filling in at left-back, the former Peterborough midfielder was one of the Millers’ main attacking threats against Cambridge United in midweek and set up Jordan Bowery’s Capital One Cup first-round winner with an exquisite cross.
“If he keeps playing the way he has in his last two games, the kid will go on to higher things,” boss Evans said.
The Millers manager is keen for left-back Joe Mattock to return from injury so he can utilise 22-year-old Newell further forward.
“That will allow us to get Joe in the position I signed him to play in,” he said. “I keep saying it, he’s a wonderful talent.”
Evans has long been a fan of Newell and tracked him for much of last season before paying an undisclosed fee earlier this month to secure his services.
“He was in the Championship two or three years ago with Peterborough,” he said. “Some weeks I’d go and see Peterborough matches on Tuesdays when we weren’t playing and he was stunning.
“He was just one off the conveyor belt at the time waiting to leave and go to a higher level. But it never happened for the kid.
“Then it gets to the summer and the last year of his contract. The chairman down there, Darragh MacAnthony, has a policy that if you don’t sign then you’re going out of the door.”
Evans believes there is even more to come from last season’s Posh Player of the Year once Rotherham fitness coach Paul Warne has got down to work on him.
“He’s got a wonderful left foot. He’s got an array of passing,” he said. “He’s not fully fit yet. He looks fit but he’s not as fit as he can be.
“When he’s had what we call the ‘Warney Treatment’ here and he’s sublimely fit, he could be just exceptional at this level.”
Meanwhile, the man who just can’t say goodbye to the Millers is back in a club tracksuit.
Physio Denis Circuit retired at the end of the last season, but for the second year in a row has decided to return in a part-time capacity.
A combination of Evans’ persuasive powers and Mrs Circuit did the trick.
“We were very lucky when Denis decided to be around a couple of days a week,” Evans said. “I think it suits his wife as well! After four weeks of him being at home every day, I think Denis was getting replies back from places like the Co-op where an application had been filled in on his behalf!”
The Millers are well served by head of medical Mike Preston, but Evans is delighted he can still call on his old friend as back-up.
“Young Mike Preston is probably more qualified than anyone in the Premier League, to be fair,” Evans said. “But you cannot beat Denis for experience. When we need a scan or an x-ray, who can we call, how quickly can we get favours pulled in etcetera? You can’t lose a bank of knowledge built up over 25 years.”