Rotherham United: Jonson Clarke-Harris a top-flight talent, says new Millers boss Neil Redfearn

Jonson Clarke-Harris
Jonson Clarke-Harris

New boss Neil Redfearn hailed the Premier League potential of Rotherham United’s boy ‘beast’ and then said there’s even more to come from young striker Jonson Clarke-Harris.

The Millers manager knows other clubs are watching the 21-year-old, who has become a key man this season, but is keen to see him continue his development at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

“You’re talking about someone who is young, early 20s,” he said. “He is potentially a player who can go and play higher, there’s no two ways about it.

“I know people are looking at him. People are interested in him. He’s got all the assets, everything you need, But we need to show him the game.”

Redfearn is in his first week as Rotherham boss and Clarke-Harris, who started the Championship campaign out of the squad but is now the club’s leading scorer, has caught his eye in training.

“He’s still a young guy, you forget that. You look at him and he’s a beast,” he said. “He looks like a man. But he’s still a young man. We still need to impress on him he can get better.”

Neil Redfearn

Neil Redfearn

The Millers are at Brentford today, and Redfearn hasn’t imposed a fixed method of playing on his squad for his first match in charge, preferring instead to adapt the style to their strengths.

“It’s wrong for any manager to go in and say ‘We’re going to play like this’,” he said. “It might not fit your players.

I’m looking at these players and I’m working out what’s best for them. Ultimately, at three o’clock on a Saturday they’ve got to cross the line and get three points. The system has got to fit them. The more comfortable they are with it, and the more balanced they feel about it, the more their confidence will grow.”

The 50-year-old won plaudits for the job he did last season in the Championship as head coach at Leeds United under the regime of chairman Massimo Cellino and says he feels comfortable in the second tier.

“If you look back at my playing career, the bulk of it was spent at this level. I played 450-500 games at this level,” he said.

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“As regards this division, I’m like a London taxi-driver. I know it like the back of my hand. It’s my division.

“Although tactically it has got better and the players have got fitter and are more aware of what they do, the basic principles of the division are the same.

“How to get out of it remains the same - it’s about being consistent and having the time to do it. It happens over a period of maybe two or three seasons, culminating in something that’s balanced and has the same side, barring suspensions and injuries, turning out week in, week out. Most sides that get promoted, it’s the same side week in, week out.”

The Millers’ Championship clash at Blackburn Rovers has been brought forward a day to Friday December 11, kick-off 7.45pm, as Rovers have been selected for a televised match the following Monday.

Rotherham are advertising for a new performance analyst.