Oxford United v Rotherham United: Warne aims to bring out the ‘Mr Angry’ in Joe Newell

Rotherham's Joe Newell: Hoping to start.
Rotherham's Joe Newell: Hoping to start.
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DEALING with a player who is the equivalent of ‘Mr Angry’ is usually one of the more trying aspects of management.

But for Paul Warne, it is a case of being just the opposite regarding Joe Newell.

The performance of the former Peterborough United midfielder was the major substantive from the Millers’ disappointing 3-1 midweek loss at AFC Wimbledon, which has left Warne with several selection quandaries for Saturday’s trip to Oxford United.

In all likelihood, the issue of Newell’s involvement from the start is likely not to be one of the more taxing ones, with the schemer expected to line up from the off, as a reward for his vibrant cameo on Tuesday night.

A touch enraged at his lack of first-team opportunities this term he may be, but Newell’s angry side will draw no complaints from his manager, who wants to see more of that side of his nature in the future.

On Newell, whose 12 league matches so far this season have featured just five starts, Warne said: “I love Joe. I thought when he came on at Wimbledon he was excellent. I have said to him, he plays his best when he is angry.

Whether that means I have to punch him in the face before he goes out, I don’t know! I think a slap is more than acceptable in today’s society!

Rotherham boss, Paul Warne

“Whether that means I have to punch him in the face before he goes out, I don’t know! I think a slap is more than acceptable in today’s society!

“It would be naive of me not to want to play him. I don’t think Joe plays bad when he starts a game. It is just that sometimes when he comes on as a sub and the game is stretched, he is unbelievable.

“It is a big pitch at Oxford. If he does start, I’d like to think he will start the game well. But I also need to have that conversation with him that if he does not start the game well, he is not going to last long. He sort of thrives off proving people wrong.”

Tuesday’s loss fired a shot across the bows of the high-flying Millers after three successive victories and Warne has promised to be fastidious in his selection ahead of today’s game.

He said: “I will scrutinise everything. If I think changing the left-back and playing three at the back is right, I will do it.

“If I think changing the goalkeeper will help us win a game, I will do it.

“They are not easy decisions to make. I cannot say I enjoy making them. But I will definitely look at everything to get us the best possible 11 out there on Saturday.”