Rotherham United 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Goals are required to match Millers’ slick style

REECE JAMES is delighted Rotherham United have adopted the ‘Manchester United way’ and would be happy to continue his football education with them rather than back at Old Trafford.

STALEMATE: Rotherham United's Tom Lawrence takes on Nottingham Forest's Michael Mancienne.
STALEMATE: Rotherham United's Tom Lawrence takes on Nottingham Forest's Michael Mancienne.

The 21-year-old left-back is one of four recent loan signings made by Steve Evans as the Millers chief attempts to instil a more cultured approach into his side’s play.

That passing style suits James down to the ground and, after playing his part in shutting out a Forest side attempting to get back in the play-off frame, he said: “I think we should definitely have won that one.

“The chances that we created were very clear-cut and I thought we played better than Nottingham Forest.

“I had a good chance and when the ball dropped I just thought I’d have a go but the goalkeeper made a really good save, especially with the ball hitting the ground just before it reached him.”

“It’s very enjoyable to be playing here with the style we have adopted. With playing in the Under-21s at Man United, I am taught to play football, to keep the ball, not to go along and force things so when you come here and the manager encourages you to do things like that, it is more enjoyable rather than having to go long and work off second balls. So playing this style of football is very enjoyable.”

James has played in three successive draws for the Millers and says: “We have created chances in all three from a lot of different areas and it is just a matter of turning them into goals.

“Things are going well and all the lads are on a high because of the style of football we have been playing. The other lads have said it is a massive difference to how we played before and is more enjoyable.

“Championship football is a lot quicker than I thought it would be. As soon as the ball comes to you, you are under a lot more pressure.

“It’s a lot more high intensity and the physical side of things as well. You come against players with a lot more experience, they know how to use their bodies, they know how to foul and things like that so that’s a massive learning curve in itself.”

Looking ahead to the festive programme as they head to Wigan before entertaining Huddersfield and travelling to Blackpool, James says: “They are good games to be going into because they are against teams in and around us so it could be the point where we could get three points and start scoring goals.

“I would be interested in extending my loan spell but there is still to be a conversation to be had between me and Manchester United on what the best situation would be.

“If they say its a case of me being able to make the decision myself if I’m not going to go back there and be involved in the first team then it is something I would definitely like to do, stay and maintain being a Rotherham United player.”

Apart from his 71st-minute shot from the left corner of the area which Karl Darlow saved with his legs, James was part of a staunch back four which protected Adam Collin to such an extent that the Millers goalkeeper did not have a save to make.

True, Dexter Blackstock had failed to convert a couple of deep crosses from former Owl Michail Antonio in the first half, but it was the Millers who twice went close shortly before the break.

Emmanuel Ledesma rattled the bar with a cracking shot from 30 yards before Tom Lawrence side-footed wide from 14 yards from James’s low cross.

Blackstock headed home after the break but only after pushing his marker and the ‘goal’ was chalked off and Rotherham responded with Ben Pringle, falling backwards, hooking the ball over from 12 yards as honours ended even for a fourth successive time after the first meeting between the clubs in seven years.

Manager Evans is well aware that a lack of goals is currently preventing his side from pulling clear of the relegation zone, but he is considering whether Argentinian Luciano Becchio could possibly return on loan from Norwich City.

The former Leeds striker scored twice in three games for the Millers before sustaining a hairline fracture of a heel in a behind-closed-doors match in October but resumes training at Carrow Road this week.

On the subject of strikers, Evans said: “We would all love a goal-scorer but in this league they come at a real premium don’t they?

“If you want to pay £25,000 per week then you will get a goal-scorer.

“We are not that type of club so we are going to have go and find one that we believe can do it.”

Evans is not unduly concerned with Rotherham’s position saying: “The last time I looked down at a league table I must have been six because I supported Glasgow Celtic all my life so I have only ever looked at one place.

“When you also have eight or nine promotions in 10 or 11 years you tend to be looking up.

“We are always looking up.”

Rotherham United: Collin, Wootton, Morgan, Arnason, James; Ledesma (Bowery 86), Green, Smallwood, Pringle (Taylor 82); Lawrence, Revell. Unused substitutes: Thompson, Skarz, Newton, Brandy, Clarke-Harris.

Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Lichaj, Mancienne, Wilson, Fox; Paterson, Lansbury, Tesche, Antonio; Blackstock (Ince 76), Assombalonga. Unused substitutes: De Vries, Fryatt, Lascelles, Hunt, Burke, Osborn.

Referee: R Clark (Northumberland).