INTERIM manager Paul Warne convinced Swedish international defender Joel Ekstrand to join Championship strugglers Rotherham United – with the help of Google.
The Swede last night signed for the Millers on a deal until the summer after being released by Bristol City last month.
The 27-year-old has spent over four years in England – with Watford and the Robins – and Warne persuaded Ekstrand to head north and join Rotherham’s battle to avoid relegation.
“I had to Google Translate some Swedish words to try to sell him the club, which worked a treat, although I’m not sure he got the message I intended to send him,” said Warne.
“He wanted to come. It was all organised before the window, to be fair. He just had to agree his settlement with Bristol City.
“Everyone up here who has met him really likes him, and I think he will be a really positive influence in the dressing room.
“The more characters you can get like him, the better. He’ll have a positive effect on the younger players.
“He’s a real leader. He plans to go back to Sweden and play, but if he comes here, does well and enjoys it, he might decide to stay here and have another year or so.
“He hasn’t played as much at Bristol City as he would have liked and I tried to sell us to him by saying, ‘Don’t let the final few months in England be disappointing. Come here.
“I’m not guaranteeing you’re going to play, but come in and fight for your place and see where it takes you’. He’s happy with that challenge.”
Warne spoke to the defender on January 2, but the deal was delayed while Ekstrand regained his fitness.
The arrival of Ekstrand – who has only played twice this season for Bristol City after falling out of favour – also eases the disappointment of missing out on Coventry City’s defender Jordan Willis in January.
“I went for him because he’s experienced – he’s a good age for a centre-half, 27 – and he’s Swedish,” said Warne.
“That might make people laugh, but I like Scandinavians. I think their attitude to life, diet and professionalism is right up there.
“I spoke to him a month ago on the way up to Leeds (January 2) and he said he’d love to come, but that he was a couple of kilos short because he’d been ill.
“He said, ‘I’m not really fit to come yet.’
“That made me like him even more, because he was honest.”