Joe Mattock on why he just had to stay with Rotherham United

WITH Paul Warne's managerial star firmly in the ascendancy and Rotherham United writing a compelling story, those who predict an immediate demise for the Millers next season should perhaps be wary.

Defender Joe Mattock certainly thinks so and with his pre-season belief that the Millers could make a strong impact in League One being vindicated by promotion and Warne justifying the faith in him shown by the players, the portents are set fair.

The former Sheffield Wednesday full-back was afforded some personal affirmation with his decision to sign a new deal in April, 2017, despite the Millers’ relegation from the Championship in 2016-17, looking a smart move.

Speaking after the Millers’ Wembley win over Shrewsbury Town, Mattock said: “It is built for success and we can take this season and build again. The manager knows what he is doing and has been around the game long enough and I think we can kick on and it can be a good season for us next time.

“I knew I was in a good environment and the gaffer wanted me to stay (last year). I wanted to stay and told the manager that. I have been through two relegations and it is not nice, but it is part and parcel of football.

“I said to my friends and family that if we could keep the players in the side for the season in League One, we had a better chance of going up and, after saying that, I had to stick around.”

Many have paid tribute to the fine restoration work undertaken by Warne and Mattock has added to that number.

He believes that the Millers’ outstanding fitness late in games, as showcased in Sunday’s extra-time victory, was one of his major impacts.

Rotherham United's Joe Mattock: Fitness the key.

He added: “A lot of people wrote us off last season and, don’t get me wrong, it was a tough time. But the way that the gaffer has turned us around has been remarkable. Pre-season was one of the toughest I have ever had, but it has come up trumps.

“The main key factor for me was the last 20 minutes of games. There have been games in which we have been behind and ended up being too strong for teams and getting a win. When we went into extra-time at Wembley, we knew we were fitter.

“They were all going down and had cramp and a few of them came off. It is all in the mind and you have to be strong and it is all in your head. The manager is definitely up there not just in terms of management and tactics but just as a person.”

Rotherham yesterday announced that Warne and his assistant Richie Barker have signed new three-year deals.