JAMIE Lindsay wasn’t saying it but everyone else was.
The combative midfielder had been the most effective player on the pitch in the second half as Rotherham United kicked off life back in the Championship with a home draw that was nearly a win against Swansea City last Saturday.
“I’ve just done the job I knew I was in the team to do: to get tight and not let the opposition play,” he said modestly an hour after the final whistle at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
The Scot who signed a new contract in the summer to extend his stay in South Yorkshire likes the second tier.
He was the Millers’ stand-out player in the division two years ago and wants to repeat that form after a stop-start 2021/22 campaign that saw him spend too much of the League One promotion push on the bench.
“Because I had a good season the last time I was at this level, I know I can play in the Championship,” he said.
“Last season wasn’t a great year for me personally. It’s made me a wee bit stronger and given me a wee bit more of a ‘dig’ to go again and prove people wrong. It’s a good level and hopefully this year we can stay there.”
I had a quick look on Twitter a few hours after the Swans game. 'Jamie Lindsay ... what a performance!' — @lindseyxrufc.
Dour is the 26-year-old’s default setting but there are regular flashes of a big smile that lights up a serious face
We talked about Ben Wiles’ 80-yard run that ended up with Wilesy’s legs suddenly collapsing under him as he raced towards goal.
“I just laughed,” he grinned. “Don’t put that in the paper!”
I hope he’s not reading this.
The Swans clash was Lindsay’s 101st appearance in a Rotherham shirt, with 36 of them coming in the Championship.
“It’s just better than League One, innit?” he said. “Better games, better teams. The atmosphere was brilliant against Swansea. Everything is bigger. It’s where you want to play.
“Swansea have good players. If you give them time and space they’ll cut you open. As a midfield three it was about denying them that space.”
The former Celtic youngster is aiming for more than survival after committing himself to the Millers for the next two years.
“I think if you go into the season saying only ‘I want to stay up’ then you’re selling yourself a bit short,” he said. “We know it’s going to be tough, of course we do, but you need to aim as high as you possibly can.
“If you go into every game trying only to get a point then it’s a bit grim. You need to have a positive attitude and attack every game, which we will do.
“The gaffer doesn’t want us to sit back and the boys don’t want to either. We don’t want to let teams come here and dominate us. If you have a positive attitude you’re going to get chances. You’ve seen that today.”
I was back on Twitter again. 'Jamie Lindsay is the best player in the Championship — pass it on.' — @royalfunkness.
Rotherham had stopped the Welsh visitors at source: in their half, in their face, in their hair, in their way as he harassed them out of their silky stride.
“Of course, aye,” he said when I asked him if every team needed an ugly bug in their line-up. “Good players don’t like to play against someone who is always at them,” he said.
“It’s about making it as difficult as I can for the opponent and then trying to play when I get the ball.”
It was the prospect of more Championship football that kept him at New York despite interest from elsewhere, most notably third-tier big guns Portsmouth.
“When we got promoted I knew I wanted to stay,” he said. “There was never any question. I just wanted to get it done and enjoy my summer.”
The deal was duly struck within a month of the promotion party at Gillingham.
“You want to play at the highest level you can,” he added. “I’d rather be in the Championship than in League One. It’s up to me to prove I can do it again.”
I checked Twitter for a final time. ‘Jamie Lindsay is a different animal in this league. Carried that midfield trio today. MOTM by a mile.’ — @deanorufc.
“I’m not the type of player to say anything good about myself,” the Millers man said.
No need. Social media was doing his talking for him.
JAMIE LINDSAY: 8
Swansea had the first ‘p’ — possession. The next three were all Lindsay’s — pressing, pressing and pressing. The visitors must have hated him, his engine and his incessant mithering in the second half.