Rotherham United new boy Emmanuel Ledesma is ready to put a season of frustration behind now that he’s playing for the manager he says is like a dad to him.
The right winger, who shone for the Millers during a loan spell last season, has signed a permanent deal after leaving Middlesbrough and says Steve Evans is the perfect boss for him.
“The manager can get the best out of me because he understands me,” he said. “He understands what I need. Some other coaches don’t understand me. They don’t give me that confidence.
“Steve is like a father to me. He’s helped me a lot. He puts his arm round me and says nice words. He says: ‘You can take all the free-kicks, you can do everything, you can do it.’ And he tells me he’s saying that to me because he knows I can do it.”
Last season’s seven-match run at AESSEAL New York Stadium was the highlight of Ledesma’s season as Boro boss Aitor Karanka confined him to the sidelines at The Riverside and also allowed him to have a second loan move, to Brighton.
“Yes, I really enjoyed my time at Rotherham,” he revealed. “I had a smile every day on the pitch, I played games and I felt so happy. The players, manager and the fans gave me confidence.”
The 27-year-old is looking sharp again for the Millers, scoring in the opening pre-season friendly of the summer, at Parkgate FC on Wednesday before missing out on the 3-0 defeat of Stocksbridge Park Steels at the weekend with a minor knock.
And his Boro troubles already seem far away.
“I had to stay mentally very strong. I played too many games for the reserves. I didn’t play enough first-team games and went out on loan twice,” he said. “But I am finished now at Middlesbrough and am at Rotherham, so I’m thinking about Rotherham now.
“At Middlesbrough, I gave my all but I didn’t feel that confidence from the manager. I am so happy because Steve trusts me. If I miss a chance, he’ll try to help me.”
The Millers are at Alfreton tomorrow, kick-off 7.30pm.