Why Ollie Rathbone is proving a good ‘little un’ for Rotherham United

PAUL WARNE has praised the early-season impact of Rotherham United summer signing Ollie Rathbone – while professing his gratitude that he did not break his leg in Tuesday’s League One draw at Lincoln City.

The former Rochdale midfielder, son of former Blackburn Rovers stalwart Mick, impressed in the 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank, although Warne admitted that one challenge from a home player on him during the game left him angry – yet also relieved – after the final whistle.

Millers chief Warne said: “His performances have been really good. Although I am grateful for the fact that he did not break his leg the other night as I thought the tackle on him was dangerous to say the least.

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“I could have been talking about him being missing for three or four months as I did not like the look of that tackle.

Ollie Rathbone: Has made a strong impression for Rotherham United since joining in the summer. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“Ollie has done really well. I always liked him at Rochdale, he was always busy and wants to play forward and runs off strikers and wants to make things happen. He is also feisty and as fit as a flea.

“He has a really good attitude to life. Obviously, his dad has been involved in football all of his life and he ‘gets’ it. He would have no issue if you put him behind me for three games and he gets it.”

The maxim that ‘a good big ’un will always beat a good little ’un’ has been largely adhered to during the reign of Warne, with the height and physical stature of signings usually featuring very high on the list of prerequisites he seeks from any prospective signing.

In the case of Rathbone, who stands at just 5ft 7in, the Millers chief has made a bit of an exception and early evidence suggests that it is a shrewd decision.

Millers' Ollie Rathbone (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“He just brings a different dimension to our midfield, although it is weird he is a Rotherham United player as he is only about four foot!,” quipped Warne.

“He is quite unique at this place as we normally have players who are at least six foot (tall).

“So I have replaced the tallest one in football history in Matt Crooks with the smallest one! But he (Rathbone) does play really well and gets between the lines and gets the game.

“It is a cheesy thing to say that he plays with his heart on his sleeve, but he literally leaves everything out there. You can never criticize him for that; he gives everything he has got.”