Admiring manager Paul Warne has revealed the moment he knew he had a potential first-team player on his hands in Rotherham United youngster Ben Wiles.
The academy prospect was training with the senior players when he came up against Lee Frecklington in a training game and got the better of the Millers captain.
“The biggest compliment I can give him is that in training, 11 against 11, he tracked Frecks all the way back and took the ball off him, which is pretty impressive,” Warne said.
“There are not many people who can match Frecks from box to box. He’s definitely got a future at this club. I think the world of him. He can play and he’s really athletic.
“The last four of five months, the work he has done in the gym with Ross (head of player performance Ross Burbeary) has seen him growing into a man’s body.”
Midfielder Wiles, the grandson of former Sheffield United defender Eddie Colquhoun, impressed when he made his debut as a half-time substitute earlier this month in the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Chesterfield.
Warne says the 18-year-old could go on to make his League One bow this season for Rotherham who head into tomorrow’s home encounter with Scunthorpe United in fourth place.
“In an ideal world for Ben, I would get him out on loan,” the boss said. “The whole transfer window thing has killed him a little bit.
“He could do with just going out on loan and playing games. He’s good enough to play games. Potentially, I could get him to somewhere like (National League) Leyton Orient where he could go and play for two or three months.
“Then he could come back in January and if he looked in good nick I could consider playing him here. It’s difficult because the squad is quite big. Wilesy could get on the bench sooner or later and I could give him a 15 or 20-minute spell.”
Another academy kid to catch Warne’s eye is left-back Akeem Hinds, 17, who also made his debut against Chesterfield.
“When Hinds played at North Ferriby in pre-season, I liked him straightaway,” the manager said.
“There might be a chance of him being involved if anything happened to both Joe Mattock and Ben Purrington, although, to be truly honest, I’d probably switch Shaun Cummings from the other side.
“Hopefully, he will train more and more with the first-team squad. That’s the plan. I’m hoping he progresses in the reserves and keeps playing well. Then, if the opportunity arises, I wouldn’t have a massive issue throwing him in.
“I think Wilesy will have an opportunity to play possibly more than Hinds, just because of his position really. It’s easier to throw a midfielder on than it is a full-back. A full-back isn’t a sub you get excited about.”