Rotherham United: Millers new boy looks like Becchio of old

Luciano Becchio
Luciano Becchio

He’s likely to start his new life with Rotherham United among the substitutes.

But, if all goes well, Luciano Becchio won’t be warming his backside for long.

The Argentine striker, who impressed during a loan spell at AESSEAL New York Stadium in 2014, has joined the Millers until the end of the season,

Manager Neil Redfearn, hoping to making another signing before the weekend, said: “He hasn’t come to sit on the bench, he has come to play.”

Earlier in his career, Becchio scored 75 goals in 156 league starts for Leeds United, and the Rotherham boss says the 32-year-old hitman has looked in training just like the forward who was once a darling of the Elland Road crowd.

“Only time will tell, but what I would say is that I have not seen any different from what I saw at Leeds,” said Redfearn who worked for the West Yorkshire giants while Becchio was tearing up the Championship.

“He looks the same player, and what he has got maybe is his love for the game back. I am not saying he fell out of love with the game, but perhaps his move to Norwich from Leeds didn’t work out how he wanted it.”

Becchio had moved back to Argentina at the end of his Canaries contract in 2015 and was working on his fitness in Mallorca when Redfearn lured him back to England with an invitation to train with the Millers.

It has taken less than three weeks since then for the club to seal the deal, and Rotherham now have a proven, experienced marksman, recovered from the serious ankle injury that cut short his first spell in South Yorkshire, to boost their push for second-tier survival, starting at Cardiff City tomorrow.

“Luciano was prolific and loved and adored at Leeds United. He was a hero there,” Redfearn said. “He is a player capable on his day of having the same sort of impact and influence as Chris Martin at Derby; he’s that type of player. If we stick him in front of goal a couple of times, he will score.”

Nicky Ajose

Nicky Ajose

The Millers could have a new attacking midfielder in place by tomorrow, with Refearn revealing: “We’re really close. We’ve had the green light and now we’ve just got to get the financial side settled with his club. It would be a loan deal from a Championship club.”

One player who won’t be joining Rotherham is another former Leeds man, Nicky Ajose, although Redfearn didn’t categorically quash a link to Chesterfield’s Sam Morsy.

“There is no truth in a bid for Nicky,” Redfearn said. “Nicky has done absolutely fantastic at Swindon.

It’s unfortunate that when I had my caretaker spell in charge at Leeds Nicky was out on loan, I didn’t really have the chance to work with him.

Neil Redfearn

Neil Redfearn

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“I think Swindon would be looking for a sizeable fee. We have other players who we have identified that we want to go and chase.

“Sam is somebody that I went to watch when I was at Leeds with my assistant, Steve Thompson.

“We went to watch him and the boy, (Tendayi) Darikwa, who ended up going to Burnley, so we weren’t bad judges.

“He is a talented player. He is someone I rate, but we are looking at a lot of players. There’s no definite interest.”

Redfearn’s defensive options against the Bluebirds have increased now that right-back Lewis Buxton has resolved his contractual issue with the club and young loan centre-half Faz Rawson has returned to fitness after hamstring trouble.

Another hamstring victim, Lee Frecklington, resumed training yesterday, but the Cardiff clash will come too soon for the skipper.

Becchio has yet to attain full match fitness and Rotherham will allow him time to build up his sharpness, but the plan is to have him in the starting line-up as soon as he is ready.

While a combination of injury and his move to Carrow Road not working out means he hasn’t played regular first-team football for more than three seasons, he has wasted no time showing his old instincts remain intact.

Rotherham played a private friendly against derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week.

They won 2-0, and you can guess who was on the scoresheet.