DEEP into the second half of Sunday’s thoroughly one-sided FA Cup tie at Manchester City, beleaguered Rotherham United were afforded a spot of hope.
It came in the form of teenager Ben Wiles, with the Rawmarsh-born midfielder collecting the ball close to his 18-yard area, instinctively beating a few City players and attempting to instigate a forward move in a show of defiance and innate confidence.
I said to the lads after the game that in big moments, you have to make the right decisions and I thought Ben made most of them. We are really pleased with him.Rotherham United manager, Paul Warne
On a day when the teenager could easily have gone under in a footballing sense, it smacked of a prospect with the right attitude and a bright future.
That contribution and others on a difficult afternoon when Wiles will have learned plenty was not lost upon manager Paul Warne.
Even amid the Millers’ brutal beating at the Etihad Stadium as they crashed out 7-0 in a record FA Cup defeat, it was easy to see why the club think so highly of Wiles and convinced him to sign a new contract until 2022.
Warne said: “I want to say how great Ben was in midfield. That was only his third full appearance for the club.
“He signed a new contract last week and had his home (full league) debut last week and was excellent and I thought he was against Manchester City.
“I did not think he played against anyone’s shirt and showed them too much respect.
“I said to the lads after the game that in big moments, you have to make the right decisions and I thought Ben made most of them. We are really pleased with him.”
With Saturday’s trip to rock-bottom Championship rivals Ipswich Town on the horizon, the Millers have turned their attentions back to league matters, with Warne striving to replenish a depleted squad which ensured that the visitors could only name six substitutes at Manchester City.
The club are pursuing a number of targets, with Warne having met a potential new signing yesterday.
This came after positive weekend discussions with another separate target, with the Millers chief confident that the club can secure that particular addition in the coming days.
Warne said: “With the numbers, I need to get bodies in. We definitely need some help in the middle of the park as Ryan Manning has gone back and Richie Towell is suspended.”