SHEFFIELD UNITED: Lane striker holding on to Rooney route

Undoubted talent: Blades frontman Shaun Miller
Undoubted talent: Blades frontman Shaun Miller

BORN and bred in the rugby league mad town of Wigan, Danny Wilson appreciates the value of hard work.

Shaun Miller, signed by the Sheffield United manager earlier this year, will never tackle with the same venom as Sean O’Loughlin or Gareth Hock.

But the former Crewe Alexandra forward is willing to put his body on the line in an effort to earn a place in Wilson’s starting 11.

“When you move up a level and come to a club like this then you’re always going to have to improve certain aspects of your game,” Miller told The Star.

“Because there’s so much competition from good players you can never rest on your laurels.

“I think I’ve got my strengths but there are areas I need to work hard on too.

“I’m putting a lot of effort into trying to hold the ball up better. I might not be the biggest player in the world in terms of physique but that doesn’t mean to say I can’t do it.

“I’m not going to become a targetman or anything like that. But that’s one area where I think it would help not only me but the lads elsewhere in the team too.”

Wilson, whose third-placed side return to League One action when Portsmouth visit Bramall Lane on Monday, cited “vibrancy, pace and energy” as three of the qualities which persuaded him to recruit Miller three months ago.

However, speaking after the 25-year-old produced a scintillating display during the recent Johnstone’s Paint Trophy triumph at Notts County, he acknowledged “certain components” of Miller’s armoury remained a work in progress.

“That’s only natural,” Wilson said. “Because he’s made a big step up but Shaun has given everyone a glimpse of the talent he’s got.”

Miller, who stands five foot eight inches tall, has made two substitute appearances since scoring twice at Meadow Lane.

He possesses speed of thought and positional sense seldom seen in the lower divisions, and one of the country’s greatest top-flight talents is the inspiration behind his desire to develop a ruthless, gutsy streak.

“Wayne Rooney isn’t the tallest as everyone knows but he can hold the ball up really well,” Miller said.

“I enjoy watching him and there’s plenty I can learn off him. Who couldn’t?

“Whenever I watch football I always try and pick things up that I think could benefit my game.

“Wayne is a clever player and he uses positioning to make it difficult for opponents to get the ball off him.He gets his body shape right and that’s something I can do as well.”