Ollie Rathbone remains a big part of Rotherham United's plans

Ollie Rathbone of Rotherham United. Pic by Jim BrailsfordOllie Rathbone of Rotherham United. Pic by Jim Brailsford
Ollie Rathbone of Rotherham United. Pic by Jim Brailsford
​STEVE Evans says Ollie Rathbone is staying at Rotherham United unless a club puts serious money on the table.

The club activated an extra year in the midfielder’s contract at the end of last season and would ideally have liked to have kept him longer term.

Rathbone has won a League One promotion and the Papa Johns Trophy and clocked up well over 100 appearances since previous manager Paul Warne brought him in from Rochdale three years ago.

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Although the one-time Manchester United trainee didn’t hit his previous heights as Rotherham crashed out of the Championship last season, at 27 he is in his peak years and Evans wants him on board for a crack at League One.

Christ Tiehi in action for Rotherham United. Picture by Jim BrailsfordChrist Tiehi in action for Rotherham United. Picture by Jim Brailsford
Christ Tiehi in action for Rotherham United. Picture by Jim Brailsford

The boss told the Advertiser: “Ollie Rathbone is going absolutely nowhere unless a club comes forward and puts an offer on the table that makes our board say ‘Steve, would this be the value?’

“That’s no different if you’re at Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal.

"I told Ollie at the end of the season that we’d taken his option up. He’s a wonderful player and he said he’d be as committed for me as in every game he’d already played for the Millers and that’s good enough for me.

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"It’s an indication why our supporters love the kid as much as I do.”

Evans also thinks Rathbone has been shackled for too long and intends to give him a freer role to express himself.

“At the minute Ollie Rathbone will be sensational in League One,” he added.

“I think last season he was underplayed in terms of how he was used in the Championship.

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“I don’t think the kid was given half the chance of being the glory player for the Millers in the way he was restricted.

“That’s a personal view.”

After the early summer transfer business that has seen the likes of Sean McWilliams, Liam Kelly and Joe Palmer sign in, Rotherham have no shortage of midfielders to add to Rathbone, the versatile Hakeem Odoffin and Chris Tiehi. New man Reece James can also play there.

Paris-born player Tiehi signed a three-year deal when Rotherham made him their record signing last August but hasn’t played since March and has been working his way back from a pelvic issue.

Tiehi, like Rathbone, is a player Evans respects and wants to keep.

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The gaffer added: “I have seen Christ Tiehi play many times and he’s a wonderful player.

“He has a massive season in front of him for the Millers and I fully expect both those guys to be part of our plan.”

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