Rotherham United manager Steve Evans hails new signing Joe Rafferty as ‘League One’s best’

Jim BrailsfordJim Brailsford
Jim Brailsford
​ROTHERHAM United have added the best right-back in League One last season to their ranks.

That’s the view of Millers boss Steve Evans after bringing in experienced defender Joe Rafferty on a two-year contract from Portsmouth this week.

Rafferty helped Pompey win League One last season, turning out 42 times, and was disappointed he wasn’t kept on to make the shirt his own in the Championship.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He’ll now attempt to get there with Rotherham and Evans, for one, is chuffed to have him.

Rotherham United boss Steve Evans. Picture by Jim BrailsfordRotherham United boss Steve Evans. Picture by Jim Brailsford
Rotherham United boss Steve Evans. Picture by Jim Brailsford

He said: “Joe Rafferty was the best right-back in League One last year up against many other good right-backs, Peter Kioso for one at Peterborough for the first part of the season.

“Rafferty was one of the few boys who dealt with the top opponents in League One on that side.

“I watched him in our games (at Stevenage) and I watched him for Portsmouth against Posh when they had Epron Mason-Clarke, probably the best left winger in the league and who Coventry paid £3.5 million for. Rafferty dealt with him comfortably.

“He was also good against my teams when he was at Preston.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Liverpool-born, Rafferty was schooled at his home-town club. He won Republic of Ireland youth honours before a seven-year stint at Rochdale where he won a promotion to League One.

Preston paid a fee to take him to Deepdale in 2019 and he made more than 60 appearances before moving down to Portsmouth in 2022.

After under-going two surgeries in his first season there, Rafferty established himself as a regular last term.

“He’s an experienced player and he’s a winner,” added Evans. “I always had it in mind that if I was looking for someone in that position then Joe Rafferty would be top of the pile and I’ve been able to go and get it done.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At 30, Rafferty still has plenty of drive to get back to the league he feels he should be playing in.

He said: “I wouldn’t bother coming if I didn't think there was a chance we could get promoted this season coming.

“We had an amazing season at Portsmouth and I want to do it all over again. As you get a little bit older you crave it a little bit more than you do when you’re younger.

“In your career the most important thing is winning matches, winning promotions and achieving things.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.