George Miller ready to kick on after swapping Barnsley FC for Doncaster Rovers
At the end a hard week for many Yorkshire footballers comes the release. New Doncaster Rovers centre-forward George Miller cannot wait.
Many professionals have been back in training for the last week or so but most, like Miller, just want to play.
The games are unlikely to be much of a spectacle but there will still be fans looking for clues for next season, good news for their lower-league hosts – in Doncaster’s case North Counties East side Armthorpe Welfare. The free transfer signing from Barnsley cannot wait.
“It’s been tough, like you expect in pre-season,” he says of his first week-and-a-half at Cantley Park.
“Everyone dreads it, they’re lying if they say otherwise!
“The hard nature of training bonds you because you’re asking people if they’re all right, putting your arm around them and dragging each other through. You can’t wait for the first game, it breaks up training and the week.
“Hopefully the other players will appreciate me a bit more because at the moment you can only show so much in training.”
There is much to do before Rovers’ first game back in League Two, at Bradford on July 30.
“We’ve not had loads of football and patterns of play but I’m sure that will come,” says Miller. “We’ve still got four weeks, plenty of time to build relationships.
“There’ll be some teething problems in these games, learning what people are like in certain situations, but hopefully we can get a lot of that ironed out.”
At least Miller does not have to get used to the division, having scored 12 goals for Walsall in the most recent season of a curious career.
He never started for Middlesbrough or Barnsley but did so 98 times on loan at Wrexham, Bury, Bradford, Scunthorpe United and the Saddlers. Add 81 substitute appearances and Miller is quite experienced for a 23-year-old, he just needs stability.
“On the shorter loans if they can play a permanent player, they’re going to because there’s not really a benefit to playing a loan player,” he reflects. “But I really bought into my 12 months at Walsall and they bought into me. They got the benefits of me scoring and I got in the shop window.
“When I went to Barnsley (from Boro in 2019) I probably wasn’t good enough for that level – there were great players like Cauley Woodrow and Kieffer Moore there. After the first year, 18 months, I was ready but things just didn’t go my way.
“Hopefully it’s completely different at Doncaster.”
Now he has a manager in Gary McSheffrey who wants the Miller he saw at Walsall, and has given him the fabled No 9 shirt.
“That shows they want me,” he says. “Hopefully I can repay them.
“A lot of managers try to fit square pegs in round holes and change players. You get to an age where you just need to know what you’re good at and do it. You won’t see me trying flicks and tricks but you’ll see me doing what I’m good at and that’s movement in the box and getting away from defenders.”